International feel to Caledonian Games

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 08:25 30/01/2013
bailey smith
SARAH LAWSON/ Fairfax NZ
DANCER: Bailey Smith competes in the Highland dancing under-10 section of the Caledonian Games.

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Highland dancers, speed skaters and track cyclists gave people plenty to watch when the Caledonian Games returned to Waimate last weekend.

About 600 people attended the event on Saturday, some from as far away as Australia, Germany and Slovakia.

The day-long event, organised by the Caledonian Society, was celebrated at Victoria Park and marked 137 years since its inauguration.

Since then, its popularity had grown, secretary-treasurer Winnie Todd said.

"I would think [there were] more than previous years," Mrs Todd said of this year's turnout. "It went very well."

The Caledonian Games aim to give people a chance to celebrate the town's Scottish heritage, with a range of sporting codes, including athletics, speed skating, track cycling, Highland dancing and piping.

The speed skating section of the event was an international affair this year, with competitors from Slovakia, Germany and Australia joining New Zealanders on the track.

Mrs Todd said that worldwide support had gone a long way to helping boost the number of speed-skating entrants.

The event attracted 60 entrants last week, instead of the 30 to 40 it would normally get, she said.

Many of those competitors had been on tour in the North Island so decided to attend the Caledonian Games to mark the end of their New Zealand circuit.

Of the 60 competitors on the speed skating track, five were from overseas.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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