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Biggest starting field ever as the Kiama Red Cross Fun Run celebrates its 10th anniversary
Biggest starting field ever as the Kiama Red Cross Fun Run celebrates its 10th anniversary

09 June 2024, 1:50 AM

“5, 4, 3, 2, 1!”About 60 runners join Judi O’Brien, president of the Kiama Red Cross and organiser of the Kiama Red Cross Fun Run, as she counts down towards the start of the half-marathon.It’s 7am on Sunday, June 9, and just like that, the race is off.A couple of minutes earlier, Lokesh (Loki) Thondauada had been standing by Surf Beach, taking in the sweetness of the morning.“If I can do a time of less than 2,5 hrs, I think I’ll be a happy champ,” he says and laughs. Thondauada’s come down from Sydney to do the race as he prepares to do the full Sydney Marathon on 15 September, ahead of his 50th birthday next year. The marathon is literally just 100 days off, although he’s done a couple of half-marathons before. About 25-30 of them.But it’s his first time running the Kiama Red Cross Fun Run.Loki Thondauada enjoying the Kiama sunrise ahead of the half-marathon.“I came for two reasons,” he says, “The coast - just to feel the magic of nature. The sunrise makes you feel alive.”“And I wanted to make a contribution to the Red Cross. This is small, not as commercialised as up in Sydney where I’ve run a lot.”The Kiama Red Cross Fun Run, now in its tenth year, offers three distances: the half-marathon (21 km), 8km and 5km.A total of 341 runners/walkers participated in the race. That’s the biggest starting field they’ve ever had, says Judi O’Brien.“It’s a nice community event that raises money for the Red Cross and gets our name out there.”The event is a brainchild of hers.Judi O'Brien and some of the top finishers in the half-marathon by Surf Beach.“A fun run to celebrate the 100 years of the Australian Red Cross and this was our way of celebrating that milestone,” she says. “It has continued on each year, and it’s gotten bigger and better. Sadly, it had to stop in 2021 due to covid but every other year, it’s been run.”Over the ten years, the Kiama Red Cross has raised over $50,000, and for this year’s edition, they made over $10,000.“It’s been a very good fund-raiser for Kiama Red Cross,” notes O’Brien.As the half-marathon runners sprint across the finishing line, she’s there to greet them, medals in hand. Everyone gets one with the top finishers receiving the anniversary edition.“Check off your name, you could have won a spot price,” she urges them.There are one to two spot prices for each distance. Then, there’re extra prizes for people who booked early, ice-cream for the kids and a dog prize.The medal commemorating the tenth anniversary.“It’s for the first dog that crosses the finishing line,” she says. “One year, we had a dog who ran the whole 21 km. Wow.”But there’s still some time before the four-legged racers will show.Around 9:16 am, Loki Thondauada crosses the finishing line. He’s done it, finishing the half-marathon in 2:16 hrs – well below his goal time.RESULTS21,1 kmMenFirst place: Dan PiercySecond place: Blair JonesThird place: Dan RedmanWomenFirst place: Emma LyonsSecond place: Kelly-Anne HinchcliffeThird place: Jackie Lyons8 kmMenWinner: James BurroughsSecond place: Jonathon HellmundWomenWinner: Jett WarnerSecond place: Amy LoxleyBoysWinner: Finn McNeilageSecond place: Lincoln BuddenGirlsWinner: Makyla Haddad5 kmMenWinner: Nick WooleySecond place: Anthony MurellWomenWinner: Georgia WinkcupSecond place: Emily CrumpBoysWinner: Dash KinsSecond place: Josh ReitzeGirlsWinner: Ava SloanSecond place: Elsie CrumpSpot prize winnersPaul Convey, Evie Berriman, Kevin Foreman, Judith Bibo, Hannah Clarke, Rory O’Sullivan, Debbie Jones, Tim Roff, Amanda Jones, Heather White, Alicia Doolan, Isabella Boniel, Lara Morgan, Kelly Berriman, Navine Koehler and Brenton Wilson.Early Bird prizesChristian Mawhinney, Bronwyn Wiseman, Amanjit Dhonsey and Caitlin Elsley.

Alisdair Tarbert naming of the Green
Alisdair Tarbert naming of the Green

06 June 2024, 11:00 PM

Kiama Bowling and Recreation Club held a special presentation and ceremony for the naming of the Alisdair Tarbert Green on Sunday, 19 May. The number 2 green is the original club green, and is now named after life member and longest serving member Alisdair Tarbert, 90-years-old.Many close friends and family joined Alisdair and wife Jan Tarbert in celebration. Current members and players were in attendance, and Zone 16 representative Peter Ryan extended his congratulations on behalf of the Illawarra Zone. Kiama Bowling Club president Wayne Richardson spoke of Alisdair Tarbert’s achievements throughout his long career. Those include seven club Pairs, nine club Triples titles, five club Fours wins and as a member of two number 1 Pennant Flag winning teams, 1974 and 2002 respectively. Life member Trevor Jones spoke of Tarbert’s outstanding service to the club over many years, attending every working bee in support of all club works, most notably his hard work during the transformation of the number 2 green from synthetic to turf in 1994.Alisdair Tarbert’s association with Kiama Bowling and Recreation Club began many years ago when his father Peter Tarbert served as the club treasurer from 1946-66. He began filling in games at an early age, and made his mark as a talented bowler joining his brother Cameron to win the South Coast District Bowls Association Pairs in 1967. Tarbert won his first club Singles title in 1975, in a very close game 31-30 against his brother Cameron. This game was marked by his father Peter. His bowling records aside, Alisdair has been a consistent supporter of every initiative undertaken at the club and was awarded life membership in 1995. Alisdair Tarbert has now been honoured with the number 2 green bearing his name. 

Women in League: A celebration in pink
Women in League: A celebration in pink

06 June 2024, 6:06 AM

Chittick Oval bursts with shades of pink (from blush to bubblegum) on Saturday, June 1, as the Kiama Knights Rugby League Football Club celebrates the “Women in League” round.The annual event showcases girls and women in rugby, from players, coaches and officials to mums, volunteers and fans.Carl Middleton, president of the Kiama Junior Knights, stands overlooking the oval, where games of tackle have been going on since around 8am this morning.There’s no slowing down of either action or excitement. Every so often, there’s a streak of hot pink (read hot pink socks) flashing by as every player, both girls and boys, have been given a pair to wear for their games.“For the Under 12 girls, it’s the first year that they’ve played tackle – and they beat Albion Park in a really good game,” he says.Go, go, go. Photo credit: Harry Middleton.Girls began playing rugby in the club about three to four years ago.“We’re fortunate to have them, and the mums who help out,” says Middleton.Why does he think that rugby has become so popular among women in Kiama?“The National Women’s Rugby League (NRLW), featuring the Sydney Roosters, is being shown on TV and broadcasted during prime time”, he explains.“Our girls see that, and want to be a part of it.” “They are skillful, if not more than the boys at their age,” he says. “And what better place to play than by the beach?”There’s a flurry of activity at the club’s canteen, which overlooks Surf Beach. The volunteers are busy selling mouth-savoring pink cupcakes to mark the occasion.Here we come. Photo credit: Harry Middleton.Hannah Baltoski is here with her two young boys, Lucky and Walter, who are both playing this Saturday.“It’s fantastic,” she says of the celebration, “Great for the community. Everyone’s showing up and participating in a great cause.”“Great with the pink socks and hairbands,” Baltoski adds.What did her sons think of the pink socks? “It didn’t bother them to put them on,” she smiles.At 10:30am, Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” blasts through the loudspeakers as a contingent of girls and boys run down from the club house onto the field.Gilmore MP Fiona Phillips, coffee in hand to tackle the increasing wet weather, saw them sprinting by. “I was watching the little girls (Under 8, I think) running out with the music. So exciting,” she says. “It’s lovely to see the young girls and women.”Fiona Phillips and Carl Middleton outside the Kiama Junior Knights clubhouse. Photo credit: Harry Middleton.“When I came here for the Mother’s Day event, I was blown away. When you get young girls involved, it brings more parents and volunteers.” Phillips finds the event to be a prime example of how, “more women in rugby helps across the board.”She used to play Oztag when she was younger but not rugby since a women’s league wasn’t around then. “It’s good to see how far it has come,” she says.

Big international turn-out for the 2024 Australian Open FootGolf Series
Big international turn-out for the 2024 Australian Open FootGolf Series

04 June 2024, 1:31 AM

Against the backdrop of a beautiful autumn weekend, Jamberoo Golf Club hosted the 2024 FootGolf Australia Open at the end of May (24-26). The championship drew 35 players from all around the world – Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Japan and Australasia. The Malaysian players had travelled for the event and stayed for a week.Japanese and Malaysians players are ready for kick-off. Photo credit: Suzanne Paul.The warm and sunny weather resulted in some great performances, not the least from the local players from South Coast FootGolf. Ryan Paisley won the men’s category with Shannon Knott coming second. Deryn Knott placed second in the senior’s category and Kristy Horton third in the women’s category.The 2024 FootGolf Australian Open results:Women1) Nisa Alina Zulkefli, FootGolf Malaysia2) Joanne Carr, FootGolf Association of England3) Kristy Horton, South Coast FootGolfThe 2024 FootGolf Australia Open's women's champions. Photo credit: Suzanne Paul.Men1) Ryan Paisley (-11), South Coast FootGolf2) Shannon Knott (-10), South Coast FootGolf3) Yusz Zainal Abidin (-8), FootGolf MalaysiaIt's all about concentration. Photo credit: Suzanne Paul.Seniors1) Jeffrey Cottam (-3), FootGolf Malaysia2) Deryn Knott (-3), South Coast FootGolf3) Masayuki Takamura (-3), Japan FootGolf Association4) Steve Senyaro (-3), Royals FootGolfThe 2024 FootGolf Australia Open seniors' champions. Photo credit Suzanne Paul.

Tony Panecasio: An unexpected call and the cricket World Cup title
Tony Panecasio: An unexpected call and the cricket World Cup title

03 June 2024, 6:42 AM

On a quiet Monday morning in Kiama, Tony Panecasio sits basking in the warm autumn sun outside The Hungry Monkey. He says it is hard to imagine that it was not too long ago that he and the Australian over-60s cricket squad won their first-ever World Cup title in a scorching hot Chennai, India.“We’ve been back for two months. But it feels like ages ago,” he says.Veterans Cricket Australia will present the team with medals at the National Championships in Brisbane this November. Panecasio also received a trophy for the best bowling. At the moment, it is standing next to the TV. “We have to figure out what to do with it,” he notes, with a big smile.“I ended up being lucky enough to get the most wickets. It was a good two weeks.”It definitely was, and all began with one phone call.Out of the blueOne evening last November, he received a phone call. The person’s name did not come up, and Panecasion says that he normally does not answer unknown calls, instead letting them go to voicemail. But for some reason, he answered this call.On the other line was one of the Australian cricket selectors, Eric Higgins.“I couldn’t believe it at first … ‘Sorry, who are you after?’ He said, ‘You’ve been picked in the Australian team.’ Really? So, it was a nice surprise,” Panecasio recalls.But after landing a spot on the Australian over-60s cricket team, he didn’t pop the champagne quite yet. He wanted to wait and tell his wife Tracy, who was still at work.“She sort of went, ‘Oh - hiya.’ We had, not really a celebration, but just a sit down. I went to her, ‘OK - you gotta come over.’”Tracy came over for the last week of the tournament.The rest of Panecasio’s family watched his World Cup adventures unfold on TV.The Australian over-60s cricket team. Photo credit: Tony Panecasio.The fittest teamCompetition aside, the weather brought its own challenges during the 15-day tournament. The temperature in Chennai, the capital of India’s most southern state Tamil Nadu, averaged between 30 to 32 degrees Celsius. It is the kind of heat that normally would not phase an Australian cricketer. However, adding high humidity to the mix, the team had to make sure they did not end up being dehydrated.That said, they were well prepared.“Even though we're all 60 and over, we were the fittest team there,” explains Panecasio.All the selected players had been given a program to follow, after going through physio. They had three months to get ready.“Everybody really understood that it was going to be challenging,” Panecasio says. Yet, every team member put in the hard work, and it paid off.“At the end of the two weeks, teams who were good at the beginning, you could physically see they deteriorated as the two weeks went on. Whereas we maintained pretty well,”  he explains. At which point the coffees arrive, a cappuccino for Panecasio.Game planAfter beating New Zealand in the semi-final, Australia’s long-time rival England awaited in the final. They were the undefeated favourite with no losses, while Australia had lost one game. (Adding to insult, Australia went to England last year and got beaten 3-2).Albeit being the underdog, they had put a great game plan in place.“Our captain and vice-captain, they had a couple of guys who were really big hitters and could smash the ball really well. Rather than letting them get fours or sixes, they put the field back where they would hit. And they only got one the whole time,” Panecasio says. “Whereas against all the other teams, there was one guy (his name is Montie Douglas) and he scored 100s in a row in a game but he was scoring them really quickly. He still made 50 against us in the final, but in the double amount of time and they got frustrated.“In the end, because they thought they would dominate, they panicked a little bit and we fielded and bowled really well,” Panecasio summarises.The final score: England 9/214 and Australia 2/215.The English were a bit shocked. The British High Commissioner who presented the trophy at the end of the final joked that he wasn’t happy presenting it to the Australians.Luckily perhaps, both teams had donned their finest for dinner at the British Deputy High Commission (the club dates back to 1858) before the final.Tony Panecasio in action. Photo credit: Tony Panecasio. “It’s a religion to them. It’s amazing”Everywhere the team went, there was either a cricket ground waiting to be played on or a cricket game going on. Pure cricket paradise.During a practice game ahead of the World Cup, an Indian umpire refereed. Standing next to him, Panecasio asked, “What do you do as a job?” The umpire looked at him and said, “What do you mean?” Paencasio rephrased his question. “So, what’s your normal job?” “I’m a cricket umpire,” he replied. “He does it six days a week,” Panecasio says, impressed.The team had brought spare gear with them, bats and bowls, which they gave out at some of the kids’ games. “They thought that was really cool,” he says.When going to the markets, the team would be surrounded by people who wanted to take a selfie with them. “It’s a religion for them. It’s amazing,” Panecasio reflects.“It’s one thing that really unites them. We actually ended up having a half hour conversation with one guy because he just kept asking questions such as when we play and what it’s like to play in Australia. They had a real interest.” More serious as he got olderAs to whether Panecasio has been playing cricket for a long time, he laughs good-heartedly. Originally from Sydney, he’s lived in Kiama for the last 30 years. Panecasio was the coach when his son Matthew played juniors for Kiama. Panecasio played with Lake Illawarra, and then joined Southern Highlands when he retired from grade cricket.They won the State Cup for over 60s. After winning, Panecasio got picked for the New South Wales (NSW) team. Then, six players from the NSW team got chosen for the Australian national cricket team.“You’d like to go as well as you can always, and represent. But I didn’t think anything like that was on the cards. There’s no way if you’d told me 12 months ago that I thought I’d be playing cricket in India,” he says.But, there is more. At the upcoming State Cup in October, Panecasion will captain the first-ever over 60s team, representing the region.The bowling trophy. Photo credit: Tony Panecasio.

New balls, please! The 2024 Kiama Seniors Tournament returns in November
New balls, please! The 2024 Kiama Seniors Tournament returns in November

02 June 2024, 12:25 AM

This week, the French Open went underway. Next is Wimbledon in July, and the US Open, the last Grand Slam of the year, takes place from the end of August to the beginning of September.But wait, there’s more to experience in this year’s tennis calendar. The sixth edition of the Kiama Senior Tournament, part of Tennis Seniors Australia’s annual tournaments, is set for 8-10 November.It's a round-robin tournament open to men and women, from ages 30 and above (with no upper limit), held at the artificial grass courts at the Kiama Tennis Club (KTC) on Noorinan Street and Blowhole Point as well as down in Jamberoo (if there’s a big entry). “Which we’ve done three out of the six years,” says David Lehman, president of the Kiama Tennis Club.The tournament features the following events: men’s and ladies’ singles, men’s and ladies’ age doubles, combined age men’s, ladies mixed doubles and age mixed doubles. The highest age grouping is 75+. Last year, the oldest players were Bob Morgan (life member and former KTC president) and Colin Elliott, both in their 80s.“We get a few people from ACT. The odd person comes down from Queensland but mainly it’s people from New South Wales,” Lehman says.On average, 160 people enter each year.“I’m hopeful that we’ll get more entries. My ideal is 200, which would make a great tournament. And, another one to two sponsors.”Their main sponsors are ANZ and BIG4 Easts Beach Kiama Caravan Park, who have supported the tournament since Day 1, he underlines. Lehman also highlights all the volunteers who step forward to run the canteen during the tournament, making sure that players and spectators are being well fed.The program looks as follows:Friday: Men’s and ladies’ singles.Saturday morning: Men’s and ladies’ doubles. Saturday afternoon: Combined and mixed age. After the games, there’ll be a social event with food and drinks.Sunday morning: Combined men’s and women’s doubles. Sunday afternoon: Mixed doubles men and women.The most popular events are the combined and mixed doubles along with the men’s doubles, according to Lehman. “Because it’s also daylight savings, it means that we can play until 6 o’clock,” he says. There’ll be prize money to the winners and the runners-up, and throughout the tournament weekend, the club will run a raffle.“At the core, it’s the entries and sponsors who make it viable. This year, we’re looking forward to even more social interaction and fun,” says Leham.Mark your calendars as the entry form will go up online in June on Kiama Tennis Club and Tennis Seniors NSW.Anyone with tournament enquiries is welcome to call David Lehman at: 0475 857 740.

Local paddlers complete the Venice Vogalonga
Local paddlers complete the Venice Vogalonga

31 May 2024, 11:39 PM

What a multi-sensory adventure unfolded for our intrepid local dragon boat paddlers Ann Bolton, Heather McAlpine, Ann Harrison and Julie Campbell.Dragons Downunder competing in the Venice Vogalonga. Photo credit: Heather McAlpine.There were chaotic scenes as over 2,000 non-motorised craft, including traditional Venetian rowing boats, racing skulls, kayaks, gondolas, stand-up paddlers and our Dragons Downunder team lined up. There was argy-bargy and jockeying for position as we awaited the starter's cannon. The number of different countries represented proved that 'colourful language ' had the same multilingual impact across all cultures. There were also near misses, and some boats capsized. But amidst all this was a palpable sense of shared enthusiasm and life celebration. Finally, the cannon boom echoed across the Venice lagoon entrance, and the event could begin.Carnival atmosphere. Photo credit: Heather McAlpine.The field spread out as we made our way across the lagoon, around the island of Burano and through the central canal of Murano. By now, the hard work of paddling through the exposed open water kicked in as well as the side effects of trying to keep hydrated, so we had a quick pit stop on a deserted island…Thirty-three kilometres later, the highlight was the final push to the finish line through the Grand Canal and under the Rialto Bridge. There were cheers from the crowds hugging the canal edges and every bridge; locals banging saucepans from top floor balconies and the customary "Aussie, Aussie" chant from random Australian tourists as we passed them by.The Venice Vogalonga 2024 poster. Photo credit: Heather McAlpine.As we wound down while returning our hired dragon boat (which answers the most common question we were asked prior to leaving, "Do you put the dragon boat down the aisle on the plane?"), we reflected on the camaraderie that we had formed as 20 paddlers representing different clubs from the Illawarra, Moruya, Narooma and Jindabyne.There was a sense of pride in waving the Aussie flag through our five-hour journey, and a yearning for an appropriate limoncello celebration. Salute!Written by Heather McAlpine.

Pickleball, a smashing hit
Pickleball, a smashing hit

31 May 2024, 2:31 AM

On this particularly gorgeous Sunday (26 May), more than 60 people chose pickleball over sunshine as they gathered at the Kiama Leisure Centre for an open trial day.“It’s been good,” says ten-year-old Keyur Kathard, who was one of the first players to hit the court shortly after 11:00am. He started playing pickleball last year, and plays regularly on Friday evenings in Shellharbour. “The smashing, when you get a smash in,” is the best part about pickleball, he says.His partner during the first game, Debra Neden-Masters from Albion Park, hasn’t played a lot, which is why she picked the beginner/intermediate session. “Great! For a person my age, it’s an easy exercise. It’s not a tennis court,” she says while taking a breather off the court. “Still get the sweat as you can see,” Neden-Masters continues, sporting a healthy glow.Wayne Lee, managing director of Pickleball Promotions, got into the game while living in the United States (where pickleball originates from). He ran a pickleball club in Las Vegas, and when returning to Australia during the pandemic, Lee opened a club in Sydney.The Pickleball New South Wales now sends him all over the state to set up new pickleball venues, which is why he finds himself in Kiama after Paul Summerside contacted the association.Wayne Lee shows the two essentials needed when playing pickleball.“There are three things about pickleball that makes it very attractive: it’s a very easy game to learn, you can play the game either indoors or outdoors, you can set up a court and be playing within five minutes,” he says.“It’s very socially interactive, and it’s very good for reflexes, health and fitness.”When more and more people trickle in, eager to have a hit, the coaches rotate them between the six pickleball courts (normally used for badminton), with four players on each. The courts are actually the same size as badminton courts, the only difference being that the “kitchen,” the non-volley zone, is five centimeters shorter. “Equipment-wise, you need a pair of sandshoes, water and a $54-paddle,” says Lee.Plus a ball, of course. They come in different colours: white, yellow, green and lime green. For the trial day, white balls are used as they’re easy to see against the dark floorboards.When trying pickleball for the first time, players are encouraged to get a feel for the ball, which is light, as is the paddle, i.e. the racket. “Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in Australia,” Lee underscores. “Traditionally, it was a sport for a certain age and demographic but now the sport is being introduced to schools.” “Anybody over the age of ten to the age of 80 can play pickleball. There are tournaments being held all over Australia on a regular basis.”As for Debra Neden-Masters, will she begin playing regularly? She’s only got one answer: “Most definitely.”

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