Stoke athlete competes in a dozen events at Masters Games

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Stoke’s Jacinda Beyer-Rieger only intended competing in three events at the NZCT South Island Masters Games which ended after nine days of competition in Nelson on Sunday.

But that soon changed with Jacinda entering “11 or 12” events as she got carried away in the excitement of the games. The 48-year-old was one of 2200 athletes who participated in the games and, like Jacinda, many of them competed in more than one of the 42 sports.

“I started with three events, but then I thought I’d try athletics as well,” Jacinda says. “I hadn’t done it since school but it was so much fun.

“I started with the 200m and got a bronze in that, and then thought I’ll try the 3000m and I won gold Then I tried the javelin – I’d never thrown a javelin in my life and had to get someone to show me how to do it – and I won a silver.

“Each day I’d go to the registration and say ‘what am I going to do today.’ I just kept putting the entry fee on my husband’s credit card.

“I think I ended up doing 11 or 12 events. It was an absolutely amazing week. ”

Sport Tasman’s event organiser Rita Merriman says Jacinda was one of the many competitors who “got caught up in the fun of the games and entered in more events.” Nelson’s Lyn Smith, 52, was another enthusiastic athlete, competing in 10 different sports, while Upper Moutere 81-year-old Arthur Dunkley entered in a number of track and field events, winning the 5km cross-country run in a respectable 34 minutes 49 seconds. “Things like cycling and athletics have a lot of events that are similar so people tend to enter two or three events in those sports, but a lot of people just give everything a go,” she says.

Rita says the games were a big success with the three new sports, Waka Ama, stand-up paddle boarding and indoor triathlon, proving especially popular. She says all the events were well run thanks to the hard work of sports coordinators and an army of 250 volunteers.

Nelson will be hosting the South Island Masters Games again in 2017.