Govt should buy Peter Snell top - Peters

  • 18/06/2016
Sir Peter Snell running in the 1964 Olympic Games (Getty)
Sir Peter Snell running in the 1964 Olympic Games (Getty)

The Government should buy legendary New Zealand runner Sir Peter Snell's 1964 Olympic Games singlet when it's auctioned on Tuesday, says NZ First leader Winston Peters.

The singlet is being sold by Auckland auction house Cordy's and has an estimate of $30-$50,000. It's under glass and comes with photographs and signed book, according to the auction catalogue.

"Snell was voted New Zealand's greatest athlete of the 20th century and won a famous double at the Tokyo Olympics, taking gold medals in the 800m and 1500m -- a feat which has not been repeated," Mr Peters says.

The singlet has Sir Peter's racing number 466 in black on white below an embroidered New Zealand and trademark Silver Fern.

"This is a national heritage artefact and should be kept in New Zealand for future generations.

"If the government values our national sporting history, they must ensure this singlet remains in New Zealand and is not sold to overseas interests," Mr Peters says.

Sir Peter was a protege of the New Zealand athletics coach Arthur Lydiard and was widely considered one of the greatest middle-distance runners.

The 77-year-old, who now lives in Texas, told Radio New Zealand he did not remember giving the singlet away, but probably did so for a charity event many years ago.

Sir Peter said he could not believe the singlet could be worth $50,000.

"I might pay a couple of hundred (dollars)."

Sir Peter said he hoped the singlet ended in the New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame in Dunedin, which is where he will donate his Olympic medals to.