By Max Davies
Whittlesea U3A’s walking sports program is going from strength to strength, led by an impressive result at the recent Australian Masters Games in Adelaide.
In collaboration with the City of Whittlesea, the group sent three teams – two men’s and one women’s – interstate to compete in the walking soccer event from October 12 to 14.
The women’s team, comprised of members from six different nationalities with its oldest player aged 80, managed to bring home a bronze medal for their efforts.
Walking sports organiser Mick Trim said it was the second time a Whittlesea U3A team had travelled interstate to compete in walking soccer, however the third place in Adelaide was its best result so far.
“The first one we did was the Pacific Master Games on the Gold Coast in November last year, and that was a success and everyone enjoyed it,” he said.
“This time we had 29 people put their hands up … we’re very proud of them, this is only the second time and next time we’ll just learn and do things a little bit better and make sure everybody enjoys it a lot more.
“The ladies themselves, they wore the medals out for tea on the Saturday night and they were all really excited about winning them.”
The interstate project would have cost a total of $28,000, however through fundraising, donations, grants and sponsorships, the total was able to be reduced to around $400 per person.
The competition was also complemented by a trip to several Barossa Valley wineries prior to gameday
Mr Trim said he hoped the result would bring more participants to Whittlesea U3A’s walking sports activities in the future.
“We hope once people start to see what can be achieved and what the enjoyment is that more and more people will come along,” he said.
“[After the Pacific Games] the ladies’ program definitely increased, so hopefully it will again because there’s a lot more information around this time. Football South Australia did an article on the team and Football Victoria also promoted it.”
While the walking football program will continue as a staple of Whittlesea U3A activities, more sports are planned to give participants more options to be involved in a less stressful version of their favourite sports.
Walking sports are designed to encourage social interaction and community connection, with no boundaries regarding age and physical ability.
For more information people can email email@example.com, or alternatively contact The Y Leisure City or the City of Whittlesea.