LAKE WANAKA, New Zealand (July 23, 2009) – A quality field of top international athletes has already been confirmed for the inaugural 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games, including a host of Olympians, world champions and national champions, with entries still flooding in.
More than 800 competitors from over 20 different countries will descend on the South Island next month to take on New Zealand’s best winter sports athletes at the Games which take place from 21-30 August 2009.
Among the stars confirmed so far are five-time Olympic medalist and current Olympic slalom champion Anja Paerson from Sweden, 2006 Olympic cross-country sprint gold medal winner Chandra Crawford from Canada, Japan’s former skier-X World Champion Hiroomi Takizawa plus Australian halfpipe snowboarders Nathan Johnstone – the current world number two – and Holly Crawford who finished runner-up in this year’s World Championships in Korea.
“The strength and depth of competitors heading to New Zealand highlights the importance of the Games for athletes ahead of next year’s Winter Olympics in Vancouver,” said Winter Games NZ CEO, Arthur Klap. “For some it’s about sharpening their competitive edge during the northern hemisphere summer, whereas others will be going all out to gain World Cup points and qualify for their national squads.”
Other world class athletes competing at Winter Games NZ include three of Germany’s top four snowboard-X riders, Canada’s top-ranked female skiers in slalom, giant slalom and Super G, and four-time Winter Olympian Patrik Jaerbyn from the Swedish Ski Team which also includes current national champions Andre Myhrer and Kajsa Kling. China is sending a large snowboard halfpipe contingent that includes current women’s world number one, Jiayu Liu.
Representing New Zealand will be New Zealand’s top freeskier and only Winter X-Games medalist, Jossi Wells, snowboarder James Hamilton, adaptive skier and Paralympian Adam Hall and cross-country skier Katherine Calder amongst others.
The inaugural 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games will take place at Coronet Peak, The Remarkables, Cardrona Alpine Resort, Snow Farm, Naseby and Dunedin from 21-30 August 2009. It will feature disciplines of alpine skiing, free skiing, x-country skiing, snowboarding, curling, ice skating and adaptive snow sports as well as the demonstration sports of winter triathlon and natural luge. For further information visit http://www.wintergamesnz.com.