27 October 2017
It has been a few days of fun and laughter for the Lakers Devils dragon boat team from Queensland who came together from all parts of the sunshine state for the 16th Australian Masters Games.
On the team was 60-year-old Linda Nugent from Mackay who joined the Brisbane-based Lakers team with friends Lee-Anne Dunn and Joanne Coates who were all competing at their first Games.
“It’s been awesome,” Nugent said.
“We’ve come from Queensland so for us it was a bit of a temperature shock, and on the water, it has been quite cold at times, but on the whole, it’s been beautiful.
“So well organised and we’ve had a great team with us because we’re a composite team with people from Mackay, Bundaberg, Cairns and the rest from Brisbane.”
The Lakers team from Brisbane put out the call for anyone who wanted to join their squad for the Games and they were able to bring together a crew of people from all parts.
“We’d never trained together before until the first race yesterday,” Nugent added.
“It went really well, we probably wouldn’t have done any better if we had of trained together.
“We’re lucky because we’ve all mixed together really well, and that’s what dragon boating is all about, everyone just does their thing.”
Competing against and spending time out the boat with so many people of similar age was a highlight for Nugent who pointed out that when it came to get out on the water, it was a serious thing.
“Really good, it’s so good to not have to compete against someone who is 30-odd or younger,” she laughed.
“Everyone is really friendly, that’s what is nice about it, no one has any tickets on themselves or feels they are more important.
“Once we’re in the boat, then it’s a whole different story.”
More than 10,000 athletes and spectators will come together in Adelaide in 2019 for the 17th Australian Masters Games.
Tasmania’s North West has put on a show during eight days of memorable Australian Masters Games action, according to Games general manager Scott Wade.
It is impressive for anyone to take up a sport in their later years and compete as a Masters athlete, but starting out as a gymnast at the age of 60 is a remarkable achievement by Alexander Beernink.