Partying to remember
About 1500 people flocked to the centre of town last night to help celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Alice Springs Masters Games.
The Alice Springs Town Council lawns were crammed with people of all ages, from locals to interstate and overseas visitors, and Games athletes to interested onlookers.
Cover band Clearway didn’t fail to entertain, getting many up on their feet and swaying to a strong repertoire of new and classic hits including N.E.R.D’s She Wants to Move, Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines, One Republic’s Counting Stars and the perennial favourite made famous by Bryan Adams Summer of 69.
Games Ambassador Daryl Somers and Alice Springs Mayor Damien Ryan had the honour of cutting the four massive milk chocolate and white chocolate mud cakes which the crowd quickly devoured.
The cakes represented a significant milestone, marking 30 years since the Games inception in 1986.
The Games were the brain child of the Australian Sports Commission which came up with the idea of a Masters Games in the 1980s. Games Patron Dawn Fraser was on the original planning committee.
The Northern Territory Government realised the potential opportunities for economic and social development and embraced the idea. So the first Masters Games event in Australia was born and held in Alice Springs.
The 1986 Alice Springs Masters Games (then called the Central Australian Masters Games) became only the second event of its kind to be staged in the world.
The only previous multi-sport Masters Games was the first World Masters in Toronto, Canada in 1985.
The Alice Springs Masters Games developed in to a success story and quickly earned the reputation of ‘The Friendly Games’ because of the camaraderie and good spirited nature of the competitors and the environment created by the games village atmosphere of Alice Springs.
Many thousands of former participants and volunteers are scattered around the world, with 47 who attended the very first Games, registering for this year’s 30th anniversary event.
The good natured camaraderie for which the Games is known, was evident last night as athletes turned up to party in their team colours and costumes.
Of course, there had to be a bit of good old fashioned sports rivalry with four teams taking on the tug-o-war challenge.
There were a couple of good tussles but the Henley-on-Todd Vikings managed to beat off the Spectrum netballers to come first. Licorice Allsorts put in a good showing to hold off the Bulls to take third place.
The evening finished relatively early at 9pm, with many participants dispersing to nearby pubs and bars to continue to share the spirit of the Friendly Games in to the night.