A Tauranga woman is heading to the World Masters Games not only as a competitor but a flag bearer - the ultimate privilege in her eyes.

Before 62-year-old Linley Scholes goes for gold in beach volleyball she will be bearing the flag for her sport in the opening ceremony in Auckland.

With more competitors than the Olympic Games the World Masters has 28 different sports and almost 25,000 entrants.

Ms Scholes was "humbled, shocked" when she was told she had been selected to bear the flag for her sport at the Games.


Playing volleyball and then beach volleyball since she was 19 Ms Scholes had been to three other World Games, even winning silver and bronze medals, but never imagined she would be a flag bearer.

"I was shaking and called my parents. I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it," she said.

The former Tauranga Girls' College student said she "got the bug" for volleyball when she was studying at the University of Otago at 19.

Years later when she was living overseas she tried beach volleyball and fell in love.

She has coached teams and refereed at Otumoetai College and Tauranga Girls' College and continued to play and referee where she currently lived in the Gold Coast.

"I'm going to keep playing until I can't. I just can't stop myself, it's my thing," Ms Scholes said.

At the opening ceremony on Friday at Eden Park Ms Scholes would carry the volleyball flag and lead her fellow competitors through the stadium.

She would be competing in the beach volleyball tournament in the Women's Fours 55 plus division and the Mixed Pairs 50 plus division.


Masters Games
Competitors were aged between 35 to the oldest athlete, a 101-year-old from India
The Games were held every four years
Athletes compete in age brackets of 5-10 years depending on the sport. In team sports the age category is determined by the youngest member of the team