The Gold Coast is fast establishing itself as the mature-age sports capital of Australia.
That’s according to the organisers of the biennial Pan Pacific Masters Games – Australia’s biggest and the world’s largest biennial Masters Games – who expect more than 12,000 men and women over the age of 30 to be in the city next November for the ninth edition of the Games.
According to Events Management Queensland general manager Cameron Hart, Masters sport is booming in the city.
‘Large numbers of people are joining local sports clubs and either discovering a new sport or re-visiting a sport they played in their younger years,’ said Mr Hart.
‘A survey after our 2012 event revealed that more than 60 per cent of our Masters Games participants are members of sports clubs and that’s great to see.
‘It’s obvious that increasing numbers of Australians realise that playing sport into older age has huge health benefits.
‘During the past decade particularly there has been an enormous increase in the number of older individuals engaging in regular exercise for the health benefits and the social life that being involved in sports and exercise brings.
‘And by all accounts the Gold Coast is leading the way.’
‘They smoke less and exercise helps with such ailments as asthma, body pains and minor disabilities,’ said Mr Hart. ‘Physical training goes a long way to maintaining a young biological age and a better quality of older age.’
Dr Caroline Ringuet, a lecturer in sport management at Griffith University, said participation in Masters sports recognises how Australia’s sport system supports lifelong participation.
‘The Pan Pacific Masters Games will showcase how we can move through sport pathways at any age and stage,’ said Dr Ringuet.
‘Being involved in active recreation or high-level competition at the Games will bring many benefits to the individual participants, including enjoyment and increased wellbeing through social connectedness and community activities.’
The 2014 Pan Pacific Masters Games will be held on the Gold Coast over November 1–9, featuring more than 40 sports.