Record numbers expected for Masters Games

A record number of sports and competitors are expected for the 10-year anniversary of Masters’ sport in Cairns.

The Great Barrier Reef Masters Games (GBRMG) return to the Far North over four days from 25-28 May 2023.

Acting Mayor Terry James officially opened registrations for the 2023 GBRMG and announced that former Olympic gold medallist Liesel Jones OAM will be the event’s ambassador, along with former North Queensland Cowboys star Matt Bowen who has also come on board as the Far North Queensland Ambassador.

Organisers are hoping to attract 3000 participants aged 35 and over for the sixth GBRMG in Cairns.

“The 2021 Games were a resounding success with 2500 participants taking part in four days of fitness, fun and friendship,” Cr James said.

“The Games generated more than $3.5 million in an economic boost for the local Cairns economy and more than ever we are ready to welcome people back to our region.

“Cairns offers an amazing backdrop for this type of event, competitors can put themselves to the test on the field during the competition, relax and enjoy the Games hospitality during the night, and explore our spectacular natural attractions in their spare time.”

Currently, 21 sports have registered to be part of the games, including the inclusion of new sports, Aussie Rules, lawn bowls, darts, and football (soccer).

Member for Cairns and Assistant Tourism Minister Michael Healy said the Great Barrier Reef Masters’ Games deserved its prominent place on the It’s Live in Queensland events calendar.

“Events like the Masters Games bring visitors to Cairns who also support the region’s tourism operators, accommodation and transport providers and hospitality businesses,” Mr Healy said.

“We can expect to see thousands of extra visitors in Cairns for the Great Barrier Reef Masters’ Games and kicking goals for our tourism economy.

“That’s why the Palaszczuk Government and our It’s Live in Queensland events calendar are backing the Great Barrier Reef Masters’ Games 10-year anniversary in 2023.

“There’s no better way for Masters’ competitors to wind down after four days of competition than exploring the Great Barrier Reef, our World Heritage-listed rainforests, or relaxing on a sandy beach under a warm tropical sun.

“Now’s the time to start planning an extended stay in Cairns for next year’s Masters’ Games.”

Today’s launch included the cutting of a cake to celebrate 10 years of Masters Games in Cairns, along with the release of by butterflies and the appearance of a butterfly stilt-walker, in recognition of the Ulysses butterfly being adopted as the official totem of the 2023 GBRMG.

Australian swimming legend Liesel Jones, who is regarded as one of the world’s greatest ever female swimmers, was unable to attend today’s event due to another commitment, addressed the launch via a pre-recorded video.

“I’m excited to be an ambassador for the 2023 Great Barrier Reef Masters Games; it is a great opportunity for people all around the world, including Australia, Oceania and South East Asia, to come together and compete against the best,” Ms Jones said.

Ms Jones enjoyed a sparkling career, winning seven World Championships titles, nine Olympic medals (two gold), 10 Commonwealth Games gold medals, and setting 12 individual world records.

She was the youngest member of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Swimming Team (aged 15) and went on to become the first Australian swimmer to compete at four Olympics.

Matt Bowen said he was looking forward to being part of the GBRMG experience.

“There are many reasons for mature-age adults to engage in Masters sport, including competition, fitness, and personal achievement,” he said.

“The 2023 Great Barrier Reef Masters Games is the perfect platform to promote this important message.”

“I’m proud to be the games North Queensland ambassador and can’t wait to pack my footy boots to participate in the Rugby League competition next May!”

Both ambassadors will be the special guests at the Sportspersons Dinner on the Friday evening of the Games (26 May 2023), which is open to games athletes and local residents alike.

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