11 October 2015
Australia’s largest multi-sport festival has drawn to a close in spectacular fashion, farewelling 2015 host city Adelaide in a closing ceremony to remember.
For the past eight days, the 15th Australian Masters Games has been Adelaide’s main event, with more than 10,000 participants in action across 49 sports.
The Games aim to promote the benefits of long-term health and wellbeing and provide a platform through which adult Australians can compete, socialise and enjoy sport.
At a packed Airbnb Games Village on Saturday night, participants said their goodbyes to Adelaide and celebrated the week that was in fine style. Featuring a barnstorming performance from The Australian INXS Show, participants of all ages from all walks of life came together as one to rock the night away, in an openhearted spirit that has defined the Games.
Minister for Tourism, Recreation and Sport, the Hon. Leon Bignell addressed the crowd, thanking them for their participation.
“It is terrific to see the great passion you have for your performances in the sporting arena, but also off the sporting arena,” Mr. Bignell said.
“To see people getting around town and really enjoying themselves, and that camaraderie, has been brilliant.”
The Minister then officially declared the 15th Australian Masters Games closed.
“We are very proud to have held this event here [in Adelaide] in 2011 – to have had it here again in 2015 has been terrific,” Mr. Bignell said.
“To the organisers, thank you so much for putting your faith into Adelaide, and we hope to have the Australian Masters Games back here sometime soon.”
Games Advisory Board chair and Triple M broadcaster Chris Dittmar said the event lived up to expectations and will have a lasting impact on Adelaide.
“It couldn’t have gone any better,” said Dittmar.
“I think people will come back, because it’s been so good. I’ve enjoyed the atmosphere of the sports – I played darts and table tennis myself, albeit very poorly. But the spirit that it was played in was magnificent.”
“This has had a big impact on Adelaide, so it’s ticked boxes from all directions really.”
“The glowing endorsement will be that people will want to come back, and I’m sure they will. I’m very, very confident they will.”
The 15th Australian Masters Games stand to inject in the vicinity of $13 million dollars to the South Australian economy, with more than 250 international participants making their way to Adelaide from 20 countries across the globe – including Canada, India, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Of all Australian participants, 55% came from interstate, with the majority coming from Victoria and New South Wales.
The Australian Masters Games will now shift focus to 2017 and new host North-West Tasmania, for the 16th edition of this fantastic event.
Highlights from the 15th Australian Masters Games
The uplifting trio were arguably the story of the Games. All visually impaired due the recklessness of others or plain misfortune, 61-year-old Ryan, 71-year-old Warner and 75-year-old Beacham did not let their disabilities stand in the way of the doing what they love, as they won gold in team ten pin bowling.
“When you’re faced with a tough decision in life, you have two choices, you can sit in the corner and mope about it, or you can stand on the two feet God gave you, move on, and do something extraordinary,” said Marie Ryan.
The oldest participant at the 15th Australian Masters Games battled Adelaide’s searing spring heat to claim bronze in the men’s tennis singles 80+ category – proving the South Australian is still young at heart against more youthful opponents.
“It’s such a wonderful sport tennis, you get the exercise, you get the camaraderie, you get everything, and of all the sports I think it’s the most companionable,” said Young.
The star of Australian stage and screen worked the crowd into a frenzy at the 15th Australian Masters Games’ opening ceremony with a string of classics, before downing the microphone and hitting the basketball court the following day.
Just one of more than 10,000 participants, Mills joined the Western Hustle 30+ basketball team for their opening match, and was thrilled to be in the thick of the action.
“It’s a great celebration of people, I think. The Australian Masters Games in general is played with such an amazing spirit and it’s been awesome to be a part of it,” said Mills.
“I will definitely be back one year, but probably not basketball because that was like doing the beep test over and over again. I’m not bad at lawn bowls, so that could be me.”
The Australian Masters Games is proudly sponsored by the South Australian Tourism Commission through Events South Australia.
Over 8,000 weekend warriors are set to inspire Australians to get active when the 17th Australian Masters Games kick off in Adelaide in October next year.
The Australian Masters Games is returning to Adelaide in 2019, with preparations for the 17th edition in full swing as General Manager Gary O’Donnell sets forward his vision ahead of the Games in October 2019.
More than 10,000 athletes and spectators will come together in Adelaide in 2019 for the 17th Australian Masters Games.