South Australia will host the nation’s largest multi-sport event this week when the Australian Masters Games comes to town.
More than 7,000 participants will suit up and do battle across 47 sports – with everything from softball to sailing, football to fencing, darts to dragon boat racing – on show.
The eight-day sporting festival begins today and is expected to inject more than $12 million into the state’s economy as participants, friends and family converge on the city and regional South Australia for the extensive sporting and social schedule.
Of the more than 7,200 competitors registered, 60% will be coming from interstate and overseas, including participants from New Zealand, Canada, the US, India, and Singapore.
South Australia has hosted the event seven times since 1989.
Highlights of the week include centenarian Henry Young playing tennis, and Victorian Rob Italia as he competes in 20 events on the athletics calendar, including five as part of the pentathlon.
Minister for Tourism, Zoe Bettison said it’s a magnificent week of fun and friendship, with a fairly big slice of competitiveness thrown in for good measure.
“In true Masters style, we know the participants love getting together and having a crack on the field of play, but also enjoy a great social life in their down time,” Minister Bettison said.
“Adelaide has a great selection of laneway bars, restaurants and cafes – not to mention more than 200 cellar doors within an hour of the CBD – so we are expecting a big week for tourism.”
Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing, Katrine Hildyard said the Masters Games brings long-time friends together and sees new friendships forged.
“Participating in sport – no matter your age, ability, or fitness level – improves physical, mental, emotional and social health and wellbeing. And being involved in a huge, iconic event like the Masters Games is incredibly special,” Minister Hildyard said.
“I have loved participating in past Masters’ Games during which I slowly made my way up and down the basketball court. Despite a lack of success on that court, I have such great memories of everything about the Games.
“I really look forward to welcoming thousands of athletes to the Games and to seeing locals and visitors enjoy all that Adelaide and the Masters has to offer. I wish everyone competing, or ‘participating’ as I did, the very best of luck in their events and a really great time off the playing field!”
Australian Masters Games General Manager, Jane Woodlands-Thompson said thousands of competitors are coming to South Australia to take part in the Games, from across Australia and around the world, and many of them will bring friends and family with them.
“There is something for everyone, from the fittest among us to the fun people who are here to reunite with their mates, have fun on the court, field, diamond or water, and then enjoy the festivities along the way,” Ms Woodlands-Thompson said.
“It’s going to be a massive week celebrating sport and the camaraderie it brings, ageing well as we get out there and give sport a go.”