Who’s Who of Winter Sports Arrives for Winter Games NZ

LAKE WANAKA, New Zealand (August 9, 2011) – A who’s who of the world’s top winter sports athletes is about to arrive in Queenstown, Lake Wanaka and Dunedin this week for the second 100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games, due to start this weekend.

The stakes in the cross country events have just risen with this weekend’s entry from the Russian team which features multiple Olympic medalists Alexander Panzhinskiy, Alexey Petukhov and Nikita Kriukov. They join Polish Olympic gold medalist Justyna Kowalcyzk in what promises to be an exciting opening competition at Snow Farm, Lake Wanaka on 13 August.

The curling competition at Winter Games NZ is one of the largest fields with over 70 competitors taking part over nine days of competition. These include the Pacific Curling Championships gold medalists from Korea, the World Mixed Doubles Championship silver medalists from Hungary and gold World Mixed Doubles Championship medalist from Switzerland. The 24-strong New Zealand team features the Pacific Junior Curling Championships bronze medalists as well as representatives from the Pacific Curling championships and World Senior Men’s Curling Championships.

Snowboard cross features world number one, Alex Pullin from Australia while the ski cross field includes world number three, Fanny Smith (SUI) and Olympians Scott Kneller (USA) and Mitchey Greig (NZE).

The freeski field is packed with some of the biggest names in the sport including current FIS World Champion Anna Segal (AUS), X Games silver medalist and 2010 World Superpipe Champion, Jossi Wells (NZE) and X Games gold medalist Charles Gagnier (FRA) along with multiple X Games medalist Jen Hudak (USA).

As the country prepares for the largest snowboard event of the year, the LG FIS Snowboard Halfpipe World Cup, there is already an all-star field in place with entries still open for another two weeks. Five of the world’s top 10 best riders are already confirmed in the men’s field, including world number one and three, Nathan Johnstone (AUS) and Iouri Podlatchikov (SUI). Seven of the world’s top 10 women are confirmed, including world number one and two Xuetong Cai (CHN) and Holly Crawford (AUS).

100% Pure New Zealand Winter Games takes place from 13-28 August 2011 with the official opening in Queenstown on 12 August from 5.30pm. It will feature 22 snow and ice sports over 38 events and involve 1,000 elite athletes from 50 nations. The 16-day long Games also include a full Downtown Sessions festival programme featuring films, live music and entertainment and rail jam extravaganzas in Queenstown, Lake Wanaka, Dunedin and Methven. The on-snow competition will take place at Coronet Peak, Cardrona Alpine Resort, Snow Park NZ, Snow Farm and Mt Hutt with the ice sports taking place at Naseby and Dunedin. For further information, visit http://www.wintergamesnz.com.