Matthew Marles - 2 October 2013
For Robert Cannon, Alan Greenslade, Helenmary MacLeod, and Pricilla Wright there has perhaps been no bigger thrill in their sporting careers than being chosen as the official flag bearers of the 14th Australian Masters Games.
They will have the honour in leading out over 8000 competitors this Saturday at Kardinia Park for the Games opening ceremony, which marks the official start to an exciting action-packed eight days of events in Geelong.
All four are now preparing for their second Games in just ten weeks after each making the journey over to Turin, Italy for the 2013 World Masters Games in early August. Each competes in vastly different sports, and each has their own unique stories.
Geelong local Pricilla Wright has been playing badminton for 40 years, and decided to start playing when expecting her fifth child.
“I feel very privileged to be chosen, especially in my home town.” Wright said.
This is Wright’s thirteenth Australian Masters Games after competing in her first Games in Tasmania in 1987. On top of this she has also participated in four World Masters Games (three in Australia, one in Italy).
“It was very exciting to play in an international World Masters Games. Meeting players from many different countries-all there to enjoy the sport we love playing.”
Wright’s World Masters Games highlights include collecting three gold individual and one silver team medal, whilst playing badminton in Sydney four years ago. But for her it is not all about the results.
”Having great team-mates is also essential and adds to the enjoyment of the sport.” Wright said.
Robert Cannon from Blacktown in Sydney also had great results at the World Masters Games in Turin. He and his team made it to the bronze medal play off in the 70+ basketball. The Australians had led for the whole game but lost in overtime to Latvia. Cannon was also an assistant coach for the Women’s 60+ basketball team that won gold in Turin.
“Missing out on running with the Olympic torch in 2000 was shattering. But now being chosen to be a flag bearer for the Games is a dream come true.” Cannon said.
For Helenmary MacLeod, hockey has been a large part of her life. She has been playing for over 30 years, winning many tournaments and Masters Games medals along the way.
“It’s was a surprise and a great honour to find out that I was carrying the flag, especially representing women in sport.” MacLeod said.
“The Games is a great opportunity to keep playing the sport you are passionate about,” she added.
Alan Greenslade first represented Australia in soccer at the World Masters Games in 1984. He has participated in every World Masters since and also competed in seven Australian Masters Games winning 10 medals in total.
All four flag bearers were short listed in August this year- participation in Turin being a pre-requisite. From this two women and two men were selected to wave the Australian Masters Games and Australian National flags at the opening ceremony.
On Saturday night, iconic Australian entertainers Mental as Anything and James Reyne will have the Avalon Airport Games Village rocking when they open the Games’ 14th edition.
The bands and party will follow the formalities to be hosted by television personality and Games’ dragon boat participant, Mark Beretta. Fittingly, the Athlete March will be the focal point, kicking off the ceremony at 7pm, when the four proud flag bearers will lead out the athletes in what promises to be a spectacular official opening to the eight day event.
For further Australian Masters Games information and to register visit
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