Christchurch is counting down the days until thousands of brightly coloured senior sports enthusiasts take over Hagley Park for the 2018 Christchurch Casino Golden Oldies Sports Celebration.
Some 5,000 players and supporters will be calling Christchurch home over the next four weeks as they take part in the iconic international sports festival and catch up with old friends from all over the world.
On Sunday April 1, around one thousand players and supporters will take part in their iconic Parade of Nations in South Hagley Park before launching into Netball and Cricket week, which runs from April 1-7.
Vintage Sport and Leisure (VSL) Festival Director Peter McDermott says his team are very excited to be bringing this iconic event to Christchurch. “We’ve realigned our programme to reflect the interest of the teams and are immensely pleased with the result,” say Mr McDermott.
Originally marketed as 10,000 players across 10 sports, VSL has revised the event to include the six sports of hockey, netball, rugby, cricket, lawn bowls and golf, attracting 5,000 players and supporters across the month-long event.
“This is the very first time multiple Golden Oldies sports tournaments had been held in the same city, breaking with our tradition of holding individual festivals for each sport,” Mr McDermott says.
Linda Falwasser, General Manager of Attraction at ChristchurchNZ, the city’s economic development, tourism and major events agency, says the sports festival is a great opportunity for Christchurch to share our new city with the world and welcome international visitors to our region.
“For many of these players this will be the first time they’ve visited Christchurch so we’re looking forward to showing them a good time in our beautiful city,” Ms Falwasser says.
“We have players coming from Russia, Japan, Argentina, England, the USA and Australia, just to name a few, and we know they’re very excited about coming here, checking out our city and visiting some of our region’s best attractions.”
“We have players signed up to go whale watching, jet boating and quad biking, while others will be checking out our many city sights and attractions and visiting our bars and restaurants.”
Renowned for their festive atmosphere, Golden Olden sports tournaments are open to men and women aged 35 and above and are held in remarkable locations all over the world, giving players an opportunity to travel and socialise with friends and fellow sports lovers from around the globe.
This year marks the first time multiple Golden Oldies sports codes will be played in the same city, making it one of the Christchurch’s largest sporting events, hosted at Hagley Park from April 1 – 29.
Ms Falwasser says hosting this iconic event in Christchurch aligned with the Golden Oldie’s movement’s values of Fun, Friendship and Fraternity, as well as bringing positive social, cultural and economic benefits to the Christchurch and Canterbury.
“As city hosts, we are thrilled to be welcoming one of Christchurch’s largest ever sporting events to our city and encourage the whole community to get involved, check out the games and enjoy the experience.”