by Helen Martin
The World Masters Games, the world’s largest multi-sport event, is underpinned by the philosophy of encouraging people to see sport as an activity they can participate in throughout their lives. Anyone can enter, with the only qualification criterion being that you have to compete in the appropriate age bracket. We tracked down some of the locals who took part. For
Phil Exeter, this was his second time competing in the World Masters Games. Phil, who has been kayaking for 45 years and has raced in New Zealand and internationally, is an active member of the Waitemata Canoe and Multisport Club based in Te Atatu. Each year the club runs kayaking and cycling events at South Head’s Lake Ototoa. Competing in the 50+ age bracket Phil, who was up against some fast, international paddlers who have only just finished their careers, was thrilled to win a gold medal in the K2 Doubles marathon with Bruce Stuart and three bronze medals in the sprints. “I’m not a sprint specialist, so to win those medals was a real bonus,” he says.
Yvette Amadia played with the Sharks in eight high intensity games of touch rugby over four days in the women’s over 40s open grade, winning gold by beating Australia’s Dolphins in a tight 4-3 final. Explaining that she plays “in the middle where all the grunt work is done” Yvette has always been a keen sportswoman, playing soccer, touch and softball at provincial level for North Harbour, touring Australia with the NZ Maori Open Women’s touch team and gaining selection for the NZ over 25 and over 30 touch teams.
With his company a major sponsor of the Games, South Head resident Clyde Glasson was persuaded to compete by his Barfoot and Thompson colleagues. Clyde has played tennis all his life and as a member of the Helensville Tennis Club has won several Business House tournaments and club championship events over the years. As a first timer at the Masters Games, Clyde was very pleased to win a gold medal in the 65+ singles B-Grade division.
Between the ages of 11 and 22
Dean Foster was in NZ swim teams and since then has competed in triathlons. He was encouraged to take part in the Games by a Kaipara Medical Centre colleague. Training at Parakai Pools he was pushed to increase his times by swim teacher Kay Simpson. Competing in eight 50+ swimming events Dean won three gold and two bronze medals. “I thought I might have a chance to win something but I was surprised to do that well,” says Dean.
Despite having severe osteoarthritis in both feet, John Essling competed in the 70+ division in four swimming races and the one and a half kilometre swim. His lifetime of taking part in the sport includes swimming for Cambridge as a teenager and competing in the 1986 NZ Masters Games. John is a regular at Parakai Pools and the Helensville gym.
The Helensville participants were unanimous in their agreement that the Games experience was fantastic, a well-run event inspiring people to be active, providing tough competition and creating great camaraderie and a sense of inclusiveness. Says Yvette, ”It was great to see a lot of old faces come out of retirement to give it one more go with their old mates.”
Please contact us with contact names and numbers for any other Helensville/Parakai/South Head/Kaukapakapa people who competed in the World Masters Games and their stories will appear in the next issue of Helensville Community News.