Valley athletes ready for masters games

CLARENCE Valley competitors are gearing up for the biggest competitive and social event of the year as the 'world's largest multi-sport event'- the seventh World Masters Games - creeps closer to its opening ceremony in Sydney this October.

Held every four years, the World Masters showcases a range of sports including cycling, track and field, football, golf, surf lifesaving, touch football and orienteering.

But with organisers expecting 25,000 competitors - twice as many as the Olympic Games - from around 100 countries visiting Sydney, Valley competitors face an uphill battle to feature amongst the medal winners.

However, winning is not everything at the World Masters.

“I'm going for the atmosphere, the social get together,” track and field competitor Ricky Bender said.

“At this level it is still serious, still competitive ... but it is also still very social.”

Only recently returning to competition after a decade away from the track, Bender said participating at the World Masters would be a blast from the past.

“I competed professional from about 19 to 35 years of age,” he said.

“Back then we'd drive to Dubbo for a meet and treat it like a trip away.

“I'm hoping it will be exactly the same.”

Bender said his aim at the World Masters was 'just not too break down'.

After twice falling victim to injury in his last two outings, Bender said he would pleased if his body remained fit for all eight of his events.

On the other hand, cyclist Rikki Corcoran will punish his body in the build-up for the World Masters, competing in the Grafton to Inverell Classic and the Inverell to Moree Road Race as preparation.

Corcoran, 44, said the thought of burn-out before the World Masters hardly entered his head.

“It could be a little bit too much,” he said.

“But hopefully I'll pull up okay ... the Grafton to Inverell is a good month before the Masters.”

Corcoran said he could not wait to strap himself into the saddle and cleats for his first race, but admitted it had nothing to do with the global competition.

Instead, Corcoran acknowledged the soon-to-be track beneath his wheels as the highlight of the Games.

“I'm really looking forward to getting onto the Dunc Gray Velodrome,” Corcoran said.

“I've been there as a commissaire but never competed on it.

“I love the track.”

Open to people of all abilities and most ages, spots to the participate at the World Masters are filling up fast, with football registration now closed due to popular demand.

Registration for most sports will close Friday July 31.



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