Friendly Games Reach Across the Wide World

The 30th anniversary of the Alice Springs Masters Games has attracted thousands of athletes – including a decent representation from overseas.

Of the 3838 registered participants, 33 provided a home address from a far flung corner of the globe.

The countries represented are diverse and include Germany, India, Singapore, Japan, New Zealand, South Africa, Indonesia and Sri Lanka.

The biggest contingent has come from North America with 12 competitors making the trek to Central Australia.

Basketballer Rob Evans is in the unique position of claiming America and Japan as his home.

“I’m originally from Connecticut, New England. I currently live in tropical Okinawa, Japan but live in snowy Niseko from November through March every year,” he said.

Evans, 48, lived in Alice Springs from 2001-2007 and took part in the 2006 Alice Springs Masters Games where he played basketball and ran the Masters Mile.

“I had so much fun and there was so much camaraderie,” he said.

“I’ve been tempted to go back for the Games before but work, family or life always got in the way. This time I had no excuse.”

Canadian Warren Buck is another competitor who values the spirit of the Friendly Games.

He lives in Saskatchewan and these are his first Alice Springs Masters Games.

The 51-year-old lived in Adelaide for a time, joining the Bulls Baseball Club which he said is more like a family than a sports club.

Buck said he keeps in contact with many other Bulls via social media.

“When I heard the Bulls were back for the 30th anniversary of the Alice Springs Masters, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to catch up with old friends and make some new ones. So I booked the 15,000km flight to Adelaide to meet up the herd, then begin the trek to Alice Springs to represent the Bulls first and Canada second.

“The Bulls value the supportive and social aspects of the game. Meeting new people and experiencing new things is the most important aspect of any new sport or game.”

Buck is one of 1429 competitors who are attending the Alice Springs Masters Games for the first time.

The biggest Australian involvement is from Territorians, followed by South Australian competitors, then Victorians.