Alexandra Davidson - 5 October 2013
The cool gusts down on Geelong’s Eastern Beach could not blow away David Leaney’s enthusiasm for competition on the first day of the beach volleyball competition at the Australian Masters Games in Geelong.
Balancing a full time position as a management consultant and his university lecturing responsibilities, Leaney takes time out of his busy schedule to ensure he enjoys the outdoor atmosphere and “party vibe” of the Masters Games.
“Competing gives you a zest for life! The amazing people you meet!” Leaney said.
Apart from the physical benefits of playing sports to keep fit, Leaney enjoys the Games’ “funny, friendly environment that is welcoming to new competitors”.
Leaney’s masters sporting debut was in basketball, and made the change to beach volleyball in 2009. Leaney still plays basketball every Monday night, but for the past three years has been focused on playing his latest passion.
The Masters Games beach volleyball competition caters for individual competitors as well as teams, and Leaney will meet his teammates for the first time when he competes in the men’s pairs, mixed pairs, men’s fours and mixed fours events.
He has made many friends this way over the years and proudly sports a blue cap with an impressive selection of pins he has collected at masters’ events.
“There are some pins I’d trade, but some of these I would not part with.”
Leaney is looking forward to seeing familiar faces and making some new friends during the competition and social events. He is especially looking forward to the Opening Ceremony, an occasion which he regards as always providing a fun night.
Over 8,000 people are expected to join Leaney in Geelong for the week-long event, beginning on Saturday 5 October. The Australian Masters Games encompasses 50 sports for men and women ranging from athletics, cycling and golf through to woodchopping and cue sports. The only pre-requisite for competing is that participants meet the minimum age criteria, which in most sports is 30 years.
As well as competing in their chosen sport, the Games offer a fun-filled social program, including an opening and closing ceremony, and festival-like atmosphere throughout the week.
Leaney will be joined by Channel Seven television personality Mark Beretta, best known for his role on the popular morning program Sunrise. Beretta, a 10-time Australian national waterskiing champion and avid road cyclist will swap the bike for a dragon boat when he lines up in the Australian Masters Games at 1pm tomorrow (Sunday)
Born and raised in Geelong, Beretta said he was delighted to take part in the event.
“I’m excited to return to my home town with my family and showcase Geelong to the rest of Australia. It will be an exciting week of sport and entertainment, and dragon boat is going to be something foreign to me but I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Beretta said.
“I have always participated in sport and the Australian Masters Games is another great way for people to stay active in a fun atmosphere.”
Kean Selway, chair of the 14th Australian Masters Games, said the aim of the event was to invite participants from all parts of Australia and the world to gather in a celebration of sport, health and wellbeing.
“As one of Australia’s premier mass participation multi-sport event, our participants come from all walks of life and from all over Australia. “Being able to host such an iconic event in Geelong is massive for the local community and surrounding areas.” Selway said.
The Australian Masters Games will be staged until Saturday 12 October and is one of Australia’s largest multi sporting events. For further Australian Masters Games information and to register, visit - www.AustralianMastersGames.com
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