Theintense but inclusive rivalry of the 2019 Arafura Games is coming to an end.
Therehave been outstanding performances and stories of impressive sporting prowess.
Nearly250 medals have been awarded with two days of competition still to go. Gamesrecords have been falling, particularly in swimming where 12 records werebroken and 23 inaugural records set.
TheCook Islands’ Kirsten Fisher-Marsters and Bede Aitu broke two Gamesrecords in swimming. Fisher-Marsters set a new record in the womens 17 andover 200m breaststroke (2.54.85), while Aitu set a Games record in the mens 17and over 200m backstroke (2.16.22). While competing, they discovered theydbeen awarded the 2018 Cook Island Sportswoman of the Year and the 2018 CookIsland Junior Sportsman of the Year respectively.
Withcompetition in half of the 15 sports now complete, most of the athletes are nowenjoying what the city and surrounds have to offer. Darwin City will be turningit on for the athletes tonight and tomorrow.
Thepopular Laneway Series will be a favoured destination. Kicking off from 4pm underthe new Cavenagh Street shade structure, athletes can chill out to music andenjoy a range of food and drink options.
TheSmith Street Mall Boutique Markets will also be offering athletes the chance todo a bit of late night retail shopping at a range of stalls. More food andmusic will be on offer from 4pm as the Games buzz spreads.
Athletesand local can wander between the two locations via Austin Lane which will bespecially lit to showcase our vibrant street art.
Tomorrowathletes will have another opportunity to soak up our great Territorylifestyle. Italian nonnas and mamas will be doing live cooking demos at apop-up stall in Raintree Park. The Pasta in the Park event will be an excitingpreview to next weekends biennial Italian Festival.
TheClosing Celebration will top off tomorrows entertainment at the Darwin Waterfrontwith a distinctive tribute to the Arafura Sea and its people. The program showcasesschools, local dance companies and some of the Territorys finest musicians,Shellie Morris, Leah Flanagan, Stevie Jean and Skinnyfish Sound System.
Quote from Minister for the Arafura Games, Natasha Fyles:
TheArafura Games has been an amazing sporting bonanza. Ive been to every sport overthe past six days and the quality of athletes and the level of competition hasbeen quite impressive.
TheTerritory Labor Government is extremely proud to have hosted these Games afterthe CLP killed them off in 2011. Its been eight years in the making but theyare definitely back with a bang.
DarwinCity is alive. I hear so many stories of retailers and business owners talkingabout the lift the Games has given to the City. Its not just hospitalitybusinesses but barbers, retailers, nail salons and others.
TheArafura Games touches so many parts of our community. If Territorians haventalready checked out the competition, they still have today and tomorrow to soakup the great atmosphere.