THE Barellan Masters Games gathered athletes of all walks of life from across the Riverina to put their competitive drive to the test last weekend in Barellan.
With a wide variety of sports open to entrants there was a competition for everyone.
From bowls to netball and tennis to team penning, the action kept spectators hanging on the edge of their seats waiting for the outcome to be determined.
Barellan resident Sally Irons felt the Barellan Masters Games allowed her to test her skills and encouraged her to set the bar higher for next year.
“I did a 3k run this morning and was really impressed with my time,” Irons said.
“I ran against a women in the over 50’s group, she did 6k’s and I did 3.
“So I said next year if she can do it, I can do it.”
New to the competition this year was a cross fit challenge where teams competed in a variety of challenges like squats and rowing that put their entire bodies to the test.
“It was very very very challenging,” Irons said.
“I had to constantly keep pushing and get myself over the mental ‘I can’t’ and turn it into ‘I can’.
“It was the first time I’ve done a cross fit type workout.”
Barellan Masters Games organizer Carl Chirgwin was pleased to see increasing interest in the games.
“Overall it’s got a lot more excitement and a lot of people plan their last week of February to be in the Masters Games,” Chirgwin said.
“Today at the sportsground there’s a lot more people here, which is really good.
“Last night we had 17 teams for lawn bowls and we didn’t have enough room for them, tennis is up, team penning is up and exciting.
“Overall we have a lot of excitement and a lot of people are keen.”
The Barellan Masters Games is unique in that it does more than just bring people together.
It re-opens the door to competition for many athletes who work to keep fit, but haven’t entered in a competition in years.
Many are reluctant to compete as it pairs them up with younger athletes and creates a lopsided competition.
The Masters games strives to level the playing field to ensure an even competition.
“Over at the team penning a lady won bronze,” Chirgwin said.
“She’s about 30 or 40 and said that this was the first time she had won something since she was in year 7 in high school.
“It’s very hard to win a medal in anything around the area because of your age unless you’ve been in the Olympics.
“So this is the Barellan country Olympics.”