Tuesday 16 April 2019

Our Elders Revel in the Olympic Spirit

Colin Jarret has been competing in the annual Elders Olympics for six years. It's one of his favourite days on the calendar.

"It's always a great time. It's really inspiring to see everyone coming together and having a go," Colin said.

"It's fantastic to meet new people but the best bit is seeing old friends. We don't do it enough unfortunately. You know, we only ever seem to catch up and yarn with the mob at funerals these days."

Yesterday, they met on better terms as the Werin Aboriginal Elders hosted the 2019 Elders Olympics in Port Macquarie.

It was a good day for Colin too. After six years, finally, a win. His team, the Ngambaga Bindarri Girrwaa Elders were announced as this year's champions at last night's Awards Dinner.

"I nearly fell of my chair when they announced it!" Colin mused.

"I've been going for all these years and it hasn't gone our way. We've been close a few times but we've never got the win. So it was a very pleasant surprise. It was a just a good solid team effort with everyone contributing."

There were big numbers in attendance too. 36 teams. More than 500 competitors from all over New South Wales.

"Throw in all the officials and our supporters and we had around 590 people at the awards dinner, so it was a big event," organiser Cynthia O'Brien-Younie said.

"I was a bit overwhelmed actually. We put 12 months of work and planning into this. Everyone is saying this was the biggest and best Elders Olympics that's ever been held so that's lovely to hear."

"It was just so rewarding to take a moment and see how much fun everyone was having. I loved seeing all the colour in the shirts for the banner parade. All the smiles and the laughs. That's just priceless."

"But let's not forget, this is about the health and well-being of our people. Keeping our Elders active and engaged. This is about them all coming together. It's like a modern-day corroboree!"

The Werin Aboriginal Elders now hand the hosting rights to the Ngambaga Bindarri Girrwaa Elders, by virtue of their win. Next year's event will be held in Bowraville.

"We're already setting up times for our first meeting. There's a lot of work to do. The standard has certainly been set in Port Macquarie," Colin said.

"It was brilliant. They did it bigger and better than ever before and it was all done in good spirit. You can't ask for much more than that."