This article appears in the October 2009 edition of Sportshorts.
With more than 27,000 competitors from 106 countries, including two Australian centenarians and one heir apparent to a European throne, the Sydney 2009 World Masters Games will be the largest-ever edition of the world’s largest multi-sport event when they take place throughout the harbour city from 10-18 October.
Running nine days, featuring 28 sports and using 72 venues, this year’s Games in Sydney will see more than double the number of people compete than did at the Beijing 2008 Olympics and also eclipse the previous multisport event participation record of 24,886 competitors that the Melbourne 2002 Games established.
Among the bumper entry epitomising the Games motto of fit, fun and forever young are 101-year-old lawn bowler Reg Trewin of Griffith in New South Wales, 100-year-old athlete Ruth Frith of Brisbane in Queensland and 41-year-old Crown Prince Frederik of Denmark, with His Royal Highness set to partner Sydney-based Chris Meehan in the tasar class of the sailing competition.
More than 200 Olympians from the past 17 summer Games, including Australian gold medallists and Games ambassadors Simon Fairweather, Russell Mark and Murray Rose, have registered for the Games. However people who have contested their sport’s highest level will be the exception to the rule.
That is the beauty of the Games – they are open to everyone regardless of their level of sporting ability. People only need to meet their sport’s minimum age, which ranges between 25 and 35 years, to be eligible. The Games represent a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all sports enthusiasts to have an Olympic-style experience.
For many thousands of Games competitors their Olympic-style experience will begin with the Opening Ceremony at ANZ Stadium on Sunday 11 October, during which they will participate in what will be the largest athletes’ parade ever and take centre stage at what was the showpiece venue of the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
And for Games competitors in more than half the sports - archery, badminton, baseball, canoe/kayak, cycling, diving, hockey, rowing, sailing, shooting, softball, swimming, tennis, volleyball and water polo - their Olympicstyle experience will extend to competing at Sydney 2000 Olympics venues as well.
Attracted by the chance to couple savouring an Olympic-style experience with visiting one of the world’s favourite cities, more than 8,000 Games competitors will travel to Sydney from overseas, including well in excess of 2,000 Canadians, nearly 1,500 Kiwis and not far short of 1,000 Americans, while just under 8,000 competitors will come to the harbour city from the Australian states and territories other than New South Wales.
Consquently, the Games will deliver a welcome economic boost to Sydney and the state of which it is the capital, with the NSW Department of State and Regional Development projecting that the event will inject $48 million into the local economy, more than justifying the NSW Government’s $8.5m cash investment and full support for the project throughout the past six years.
The time has passed for people to register as Games competitors or volunteers - a community-minded workforce of more than 5,000 people will help the Games Organising Committee put on the event - but the Games do not have to begin without you because spectating at the Games is free!
For Games information, including competition schedules, visit the event’s website at www.2009worldmasters.com.