Dalziel: Biggest celebration of sport city’s ever seen

CAMARADERIE: Wellington's Sue Critchlow and her team the Shore Ravers will compete in the Golden Oldies netball tournament.

OPINION: On Easter Sunday, I will have the privilege of welcoming the first teams that will participate in the biggest celebration of sport our city has ever seen, – the Golden Oldies Sports Celebration 2018 – which runs from April 1 to 29.

It’s the first time Golden Oldie world events have been held in the same place at the same time. And it’s huge for Christchurch. The estimated benefit to Christchurch and Canterbury is in the region of NZ$33 million.

Thousands of international visitors from over a dozen countries are winging their way to Christchurch, New Zealand, from all over the world for this golden month of events.

I easily qualify as a ‘Golden Oldie’ myself, as athletes only need to be aged over 35 to compete in the six different sports that will be featured – rugby, hockey, netball, golf, cricket and lawn bowls. Not that I would meet the requisite standard for any of them. We are excited to have all these teams and their supporters here from all over the world for this incredible celebration of fun, friendship and fraternity.

What I love about Christchurch is that we all take our hosting role seriously. Give our visitors a real Christchurch welcome. Let’s make sure our visitors enjoy themselves on and off the courts, fields and pitches at all the sporting events in Christchurch.

ChristchurchNZ has worked very hard to turn this into an occasion never to be forgotten. And when you think about the Friendly Games of 1974, it’s really who we are as a city.

I know we have much still to do, but these major events are incredibly important.

And it’s great to have an organisation that is able to ensure we are a great host city and that our region realises the economic benefits these events can bring.