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Ambassador Fitz at the Games
Sarah Fitz-Gerald reflects on the World Masters Games

About a year ago I was asked to be a Games Ambassador for squash which was a great opportunity to get some publicity for our sport in a massive multi sport event … the Masters Games has the largest participation and entry than any other event.

The opening ceremony was a real spectacle staged at Sydney Olympic Park with over 28,000 athletes of all sports and ages…it was a real celebration with fireworks, dancing, singing and the chance of showing off some of Australia’s talent, culture and traditions. All athletes entered the arena under the banner of their sport, rather than their country.

Bert Armstrong from Melbourne, owner of the largest squash racket collection in the world, and who has attended ALL Masters Games, was given the honour of speaking in front of the athletes and crowd to deliver the Athletes Ode (pledge).

The squash tournament had entries from Australia wide, NZ, New Caledonia, Canada, USA, South Africa, Malawi, England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Netherlands, Germany, Sweden, Argentina, Uruguay, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia and United Arab Emirates.

The individual event was held over 7 days due to enormity of the entry list and categories, then was immediately followed by a 3 day team event. In true squash style, the parties and socialising of the masters certainly lived up to its reputation with the fantastic gathering of friends, return of former players and familiar faces.

During my time as Games Ambassador, I had the opportunity to rub shoulders with Australian sporting greats Murray Rose, Ken Rosewall, Phil Kearns, Russell Mark, Jenny Halliday, Debbie Watson, Daniel Kowalski, Simon Fairweather, and given the opportunity to spread the good word that sport truly is for all ages …… we attended functions at the spectacular Sydney Government House, Black Tie Gala Dinner with honoured guest Prince Frederique of Denmark as well as our own Tunku Peter Imran.

Friend, squash player and games participant David White, brother of former World No1 John White, invited me to give a squash demo to the squashies of the Australian Royal Navy at Garden Island navy base …… quite a privilege as it is exclusive to navy personnel only…..in return I sailed out of Sydney Harbour on HMAS Parramatta one of Australia’s main war ships, approx 20miles off shore and up to Newcastle (Approx 3 hours by car away).

The next World Masters Games will be held in Torino Italy in 2013.


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