21 May, 2021
Great Barrier Reef Masters Games bring events back to Cairns
World record holders, Olympic gold medallists, former NBA basketballers as well as thousands of everyday masters-aged athletes have arrived in Cairns to take part in a record-breaking fifth biennial Great Barrier Reef Masters Games.
The 2021 Great Barrier Reef Masters Games officially kick-off yesterday, 20 May, with athletes taking part in the traditional march-in along the foreshore to the official opening event held at Fogarty Park.
Mayor Bob Manning said this year’s Games had once again surpassed all expectations with some sports more than doubling their participation rate in the 2021 Games.
“Our team behind the Games has worked tirelessly since the last competition to deliver a fantastic sport and social program that will not disappoint,” Cr Manning said.
“Even in the middle of a pandemic we have managed to grow this event once again – with numbers across all sports exceeding expectations.
“These Games are a win for Cairns and for local sporting groups. This year our sporting clubs have benefitted from sport payments of almost $140,000, which will go a long way to improving capacity and helping clubs grow.
“At this year’s Games we welcome athletes from not only across Queensland, but every Australian state and territory, and even our neighbours in New Zealand.
“As soon as borders opened – athletes registered and started their plans to return to Cairns for one of the most popular Masters’ competitions on the circuit.”
Golfers Geoff Tenant and Gary Levert are GBRMG regulars and registered for the Games within hours of the New Zealand and Australian boarders travel bubble announcement.
We were hoping that the border was going to open up as our Australian friends had booked into the Games and we were ready to make bookings if the travel bubble was announced in time,” Mr Tenant said.
“We couldn’t let our Aussie mates have all the fun! We pretty much had flights and arrangements all booked within an hour of our PM confirming the bubble dates.
“We are really looking forward to it and this will be our third trip to the GBRMGs. It’s always a few days of excellent competition between friends with a lot of banter thrown in – plus a bit of average golf.”
This year’s oldest competitor is track and field athlete is 90-year-old Brian Sharpe from NSW.
Brian has been involved with track and field for more than 70 years, and he will line-up for the 90+ age group in the men’s 60m, 100m, 200m, and 400m track events, plus shot put, javelin and discus.
Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Great Barrier Reef Masters Games would place the spotlight on the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef region.
“With Masters athletes from across Australia and New Zealand travelling to take part in the event, this is the perfect opportunity to promote the region’s best tourism assets,” Mr Hinchliffe said.
“What better way to wind down from a gruelling event like the Masters Games than with a visit to the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, Daintree Rainforest, one of the many tropical islands in region or an Indigenous cultural experience, or by experiencing the incredible local tropical produce.
“Every dollar spent in region will go directly to our accommodation providers, restaurants and other hospitality businesses, retailers, and tourism experiences to support local jobs.
“Tourism plays a crucial role in the Cairns and Great Barrier Reef economy.
“The Palaszczuk Government recognises the importance of investing in events like the Great Barrier Reef Masters Games.”
The 2021 Great Barrier Reef Masters Games are presented by Cairns Regional Council and proudly supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of its growing calendar of events in Tropical North Queensland.