Double world masters badminton champion Kevin Ross got the workout he was looking for while winning the NZMG men's 55+ singles title inside Springvale Stadium yesterday.
The former Whanganui District Council chief executive Ross, who claimed singles and mixed doubles gold at the 2013 World Masters in Italy, will be heading to Auckland in two months to try and retain his world crown.
He had the toughest road to the national singles title of all the divisions yesterday, as there were eight players competing in his age grade.
"He was struggling physically at the end," said co-ordinator Graham Feist.
Overall numbers for this year's badminton saw 101 register with two pull out late, being slightly down on 2015.
However, Feist said they did not have to trim any of the formats - having played mixed doubles on Saturday and doubles on Sunday.
"[Sunday] we gave some of them too many games."
Feist said it was interesting that the divisions get more competitive as the players get older, with most of the field yesterday being returnees.
"The average age of badminton players is 55, and it's a physical sport. Basketball doesn't have that.
"Over the years, it's been climbing.
"There's a lot of people here [also] doing the worlds.
"We're right up at the top level at the world masters. New Zealanders win a lot of medals."
Another exciting singles title decided yesterday was the 35+ women's grade between Hastings' Wishy Cookson and the Waikato's Jennifer Qi and Xiao Cui Zhou.
All three women had one victory each in matches that went into the deciding third set.
On a points countback, Cookson having one strong set against Zhou decided the title, as she finished on +6 points ahead of Qui (+1) and Zhou (-7).
Play continues today and tomorrow with the teams competition.