Records were made to be broken on the final day of competition at the 15th Australian Masters Games, with 17 sports in action and the Airbnb Games Village a hive of activity.
The host venue for a number of sports across the eight day event, the Village welcomed powerlifting and judo on Saturday and both brought with them a packed house.
51-year-old Vince Patty A was in a dark place some three and a half years ago, before discovering powerlifting. Fast forward to 2015 and the Victorian has broken more than 50 records – including three at this year’s Games.
“I was pretty sick for 10 years and I needed to make a change. I had to have a change of life, so I went to the gym for the first time, and I just started training,” Patty said.
“Before then I couldn’t even lift or squat my own bodyweight. Someone said to me, ‘would you like to do powerlifting’ and it saved my life.”
“I put my hand up and thought I’d have a go, and my first ever competition I broke a world record – though I hadn’t been in the federation long enough to actually make it official.”
The Ravehall local is simply thankful he can take part in an exciting sport within such an encouraging environment.
“I absolutely love the sport. It’s a sport that anyone can do – it’s a grassroots sport.”
“I don’t know any other sport that you get two minutes rest between sets, up to five minutes sometimes, and you can still use social media,” laughed Patty.
“For all the young people out there thinking about sport, not everyone wants to run, not everyone wants to play football, and this is a great way to get yourself strong and fit and be around positive people.”
His time here in Adelaide for the Australian Masters Games has been perfect for Patty to simply enjoy powerlifting without the pressures that come with other competitions.
“I won best bench press and best 74kg lifter. They didn’t have a pound for pound category but I would have won that as well – they call me Mighty Mouse.”
“This has been my first time at the Australian Masters Games, and I’ll be back. I’ve absolutely loved it. Loved the atmosphere and the people, everyone was friendly and it was just a great, well-run place,” he enthused.
“Get yourself fit, get yourself down here and have a go. Find the sport that suits you. This place has every sport under the sun, so have a go,” Patty said.
There’s nothing that would stop 74-year-old Russell Wood from having a go. With a 45 year history in taekwondo, it’s no surprise he took out gold in the 60+ individual world poomsae.
The Roxburgh Park local became an instructor in 1976, and has since progressed to an eighth dan grand master kukkiwon and jidowon instructor. He has won multiple awards and received a sports medal from Queen Elizabeth II, as well as an A-grade gold medal in Korea to be ranked third in the world for his age.
With all this experience under his belt, Wood can still appreciate the 15th Australian Masters Games and participants from all walks of life.
“It’s friendly and relaxed, everyone’s happy – a great environment. The other good thing is we have both ITF and WTF working together, so that’s important,” said Wood.
“It just excites you and it keeps me going, I love it to bits. It keeps me young.”
“It also gives you a challenge and a goal in life to stay healthy and fit.”
“You see the camaraderie that I have with my students, everyone comes and gives me a cuddle and smiles. That’s what it’s all about,” said Wood.
At Adelaide City Beach, local club Austral Phoenix Volleyball exceeded expectations with all three teams – 30+ men’s, women’s and mixed – going through undefeated on their way to a gold medal rout in beach volleyball.
Port Noarlunga South’s Mickey Jenkinson has played volleyball for 23 years, and participated in both the women’s and mixed competitions at this year’s tournament. She said the club’s dominance on the court was not the main highlight.
“The best part is the great competition and sportsmanship,” said Jenkinson.
“The reason I participated this year is because it’s just an awesome event.”
Jenkinson has previously won gold for South Australia in the Australian Volleyball League, and has had further success in past Australian Masters Games.
“I played in my first Masters Games four years ago and won gold in the women’s and bronze in the mixed.” said Jenkinson.
“The people are great and the atmosphere is even better, everyone has a great time.”
Australia Phoenix president Adam Harris participated in the men’s and mixed competitions, and said the Australian Masters Games provides a platform for past players to rediscover their love for the club and the sport.
“For the club, it was an opportunity to bring together past members and help re-engage them with the club as we try to offer opportunities for participation to people of all ages and abilities to play volleyball”, said Harris.
The 15th Australian Masters Games officially closed on Saturday night with a spectacular closing ceremony. Featuring special guests Minister for Tourism, Recreation and Sport Hon. Leon Bignall MP, Games Advisory Board Chair and Triple M broadcaster Chris Dittmar amongst others, and joined by Devonport City Council Mayor Steven Martin – who officially received the Australian Masters Games flag as a host of the 2017 Games.
For further information regarding the Australian Masters Games, please visit www.AustralianMastersGames.com.