By Henry Landers - 5 October 2015
You would not expect to see foils and sabres in contemporary Adelaide, but they have been out in abundance during the past three days at the 15th Australian Masters Games.
Adelaide local, Peter Barry, has seen it all before, “I have been fencing for 39 years now. It has been a big part of my life, I’ve been in fencing since I was at Adelaide University, and I’m now a coach at the Adelaide University Fencing Club so it’s been 39 years continuous fencing for me,” said Barry.
But not all participants have the same level of experience.
“That’s a complicated question,” said Maria Kirby, when asked about her involvement in the sport.
“I started fencing when I was about 14 but I quit when I was 20 and then I started again two years ago when one of my kids took up fencing”.
Though these two participants have approached fencing from different directions they have both come into the Games on the back of recent successes.
“My biggest achievement has been two gold medals at Commonwealth Veterans level, in the last two Commonwealth Championships, and just recently back from the Asian Masters and a bronze individual there as well,” said Barry.
Not one to let her relative inexperience keep her down, Kirby has good form in the national arena, “My biggest achievement in fencing was probably when I came second in one of the national veterans competitions earlier this year, that’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done.”
However, both Barry and Kirby are just happy to make it to the games to join over 10,000 of their fellow participants competing in 49 sports.
Barry in particular has felt the effects of a long sporting career, “Injuries, injuries, injuries. I’m actually carrying knee injuries at the moment and I haven’t been able to train for the last month because of that”.
“But my favourite part of competing in the Australian Masters Games has been today’s event really, the foil, it’s the only event I’m fencing in so it’s definitely the highlight”.
His enthusiasm is still evident after all those bouts and has found an ideal platform in an event such as the Australian Masters Games, which aims to promote the benefits of long-term health and wellbeing.
The Games provide a platform through which adult Australians can compete, socialise, and enjoy sport, though Barry will not be taking part in any of the social events.
“I’m actually heading off overseas after this event so unfortunately I can’t make it,” said Barry.
This is the first year that fencing has been included in the Australian Masters Games.
The 15th Australian Masters Games are being held in Adelaide, October 3-10, featuring more than 10,000 participants from across Australia and around the world.
For further information regarding the Australian Masters Games, please visit www.AustralianMastersGames.com.
The Australian Masters Games is proudly sponsored by the South Australian Tourism Commission through Events South Australia.
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The team set to deliver the 2021 Australian Masters Games is starting to take shape, with the captain - Games general manager Kirsten Drower leading preparations.
We're heading west! The next Australian Masters Games will take place in Perth in 2021.