Photo: Aunty Norma playing for Kurranulla Aboriginal Corporation
The 2019 Eora Elders Olympics, held at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) in mid-September, was jam packed with competitiveness, community spirit, legendary yarns and a really great morning tea.
Five Sydney-based Indigenous Elders teams from Kurranulla Aboriginal Corporation, Wyanga Aboriginal Aged Care, Australian Unity, Redfern Aboriginal Medical Service, and Guriwal Aboriginal Corporation, came together to fearlessly compete for the 2019 Eora Elders Olympics title.
More than 300 participants, family and community, spectators and staff, were on site to witness our Elders go head-to-head in games, including Gorri, Pass the Footy, Quoits, Kee’an, Egg & Spoon and the truly memorable finale relay race.
This event had an overarching focus on holistic health with organisations providing support and resources, including NCIE’s very own Talking About Tobacco Use program which assists community in living a smoke-free lifestyle.
The Eora Elders Olympics organising committee worked for months to make this Olympics extra deadly. Committee member and Wyanga CEO, Roslyn Silva-Blair recognises the importance of the Elders Olympics within the scope of our community.
“It’s all about social support and our Elders being active, it’s not about winning it’s about coming together as a community,” she said.
As predicted, to the friendly competition stirred up some spirited banter between teams. Sisters, Cheryl Smith playing for Kurranulla, and Mary Smith playing for Wyanga, had some fierce rivalry over who was the best.
“Cheryl is very competitive, we’ve always been rivals, ever she since we were little, she’d always bring home the trophies. But I’ll get that trophy one day!” Mary said.
After the exhausting day of games, all teams returned to NCIE a few days later for a celebratory awards lunch.
The Eldest Competitor Award went Australian Unity’s Uncle Isaac Bates; every team was awarded a Best and Fairest Player Award, and the Team Spirit Award went to Guriwal Aboriginal Corporation.
Ironically, the overall winner wasn’t Cheryl or Mary’s team but the glorious Guriwal ‘Lapa Legends’ who swooped through the competition and took the 2019 Eora Elders Olympics title.
The Olympics MC’s, Jeffrey Morgan and Dean Widders reflected on after supporting such an important community event.
“Seeing the Elders smile and laugh while also being fit and active is truly heart-warming. Not to mention the fact it helps combat loneliness which is a big issue as our Elders age,” Jeffrey said.
“I hope the event grows bigger and better next year as there are so many great benefits for these very important people in our communities,” Dean Widders added.
All-in-all, it was a day full of community connection, pride and lots of smiles, showing you’re never too old to go for gold.