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  • Sam Davis

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    Masters ambassadors keen to keep having fun

    An estimated 2000 athletes in the over-35 age bracket will descend on Cairns next May in another major boost for our local tourism and sporting industries.

    The Tropical North’s wiliest and most seasoned veterans are stoking their competitive fires and icing their ailing joints in the lead up to one of region’s most spirited sporting spectacles.

    The Great Barrier Reef Masters Games returns to Cairns next May with organisers expecting around 2000 participants aged 35 and over to compete in 19 different sports.

    Cairns Mayor Bob Manning officially opened the registration period for the four-day biennial event on Friday and said the Masters Games combined fun and friendship with competition.

    “Cairns offers an amazing backdrop for this type of event,” Cr Manning says.

    “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.”

    Softball star and Olympian Joyce Lester and broadcaster Bluey Forsyth return as ambassadors this year while dual-Olympic track and field representative Jill Boltz and former NRL player David Westley join the team.

    “These four ambassadors are all locals and are great examples of the benefits of staying active and enjoying sport as you get older,” Cr Manning says.

    Tourism Tropical North Queensland CEO Alex de Waal says the game was a signature event for Tropical North Queensland.

    “The Great Barrier Reef Masters Games allows participants to compete in the sport of their choice in the world’s best place to engage with nature - Cairns & the Great Barrier Reef."

    To register for the 2017 Great Barrier Reef Masters Games, click here.

    The Great Barrier Reef Masters Games are presented by Cairns Regional Council with support from Strategic Partner Tourism and Events Queensland and Tourism Tropical North Queensland.

    Games Ambassador Profiles

    Joyce Lester: OAM Softball

    Joyce Lester OAM is an Australian softball player and coach. A catcher and outfielder, she joined the Australia Women’s National Softball Team in 1977, captaining it from 1985 until its bronze medal win at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.
    After retiring from International Competition Joyce played professionally for the first time in Japan from 1996-1999 and thereafter coached softball in both Japan and Australia.
    She was named to the world all-star softball team in 1986 and has been inducted into the Queensland, Australia and World Softball Halls of Fame. Joyce competed in the 2015 Great Barrier Reef Masters Games with her team the Steelers.

    David Westley: Rugby League

    David Westley is a Papua New Guinea professional rugby league footballer. A front rower, he played club football for the Canberra Raiders, with whom he won the 1994 Winfield Cup Premiership before spending time with the Parramatta Eels and the Northern Eagles.
    As a junior he played for the Cairns Kangaroos before being Canberra’s Rookie of the Year in 1993 and being part of their Grand Final winning side in 1994. David was also selected to play for Papua New Guinea in the 1995 World Cup in England.
    David is coaching co-ordinator for the Kangaroos Juniors as well as Strength and Conditioning coach for the Senior team.

    Jill Boltz: Athletics

    Mum of three, Jill Boltz (Hunter) lives in Trinity Beach, Queensland. Jill is a former Olympic athlete who represented Great Britain in the 1988 games in Seoul, and Barcelona in 1992. She came ninth in the World Cross Country Championships in Auckland before running her best ever 3,000m at the Zurich Grand Prix, finishing in 8:47.36.
    In 1989 she won the AAAs National title at 10,000m to earn Commonwealth selection, winning a silver medal at the 1990 Commonwealth Games in Auckland.
    Jill coaches coaches Far North Queensland runners aged between 10-25 and is making a name for herself as one of the most successful distance coaches in the state. She also coaches a number of men and women in running events from introductory through to ultra-marathon runners.

    Bluey Forsyth: Sports Commentator

    Bluey Forsyth is our local sports ambassador for the second games running. A well-known local personality, Bluey is the Grandstand Presenter for ABC Far North Queensland, hosting the regular sport show.
    He is a regular on local radio and television stations, bringing up-to-date sports information to the region.
    Bluey has been involved in local sport since his arrival to Cairns in 1997 and includes regular horse race calling throughout the region, courtside commentator at the Cairns Taipans and Marlins Basketball Games. He regularly ground announces at local sporting competitions at the Football, AFL and cricket.
    He was the ground announcer at the first international Test Match held outside a capital city - Australia versus Bangladesh in Cairns.