Mastering sport

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Mastering sport

Table tennis brothers: Fred and Case de Bondt were successful at the World Masters Games last month.

By Chris Brown

SOUTH Gippslanders have returned home with gold from the World Masters Games held in Sydney last month.
Among them were Inverloch table tennis player Case de Bondt and a women’s basketball team with players from Korumburra and Wonthaggi.
Numerous other people from across the region also took the opportunity to compete at the world’s largest multi-sport event from October 10 to 18.
Case took out the singles, teams, men’s doubles and mixed doubles gold in his age group at the games.
To win the individual honour Case beat table tennis opponents from Russia, China, Canada, Turkey and Australia.
He said the masters games was an eye opener, with the Chinese and Russians taking most of the victories in the other age groups.
However, by Case’s estimates only 25 per cent of people playing table tennis are serious competitors.
“But with the other 75 per cent, some of them aren’t much better than beginners,” he said. “It’s great people are having fun and competing though.”
Case takes his table tennis seriously, with renovations to his home creating space for table tennis in his parlour.
He plays at Croydon on Mondays, Wonthaggi on Tuesday and Dandenong on Thursday.
Case farmed full time for 45 years before retiring.
“I’m busier now than I ever was when farming,” he said.
“I’ve found my niche in retirement and I can’t recommend it highly enough to take up a game like table tennis.”
Case’s brother, Fred de Bondt also competed in Sydney and picked up an individual bronze and team silver.
“I played in the masters in 2002,” he said.
“You have to gear up for the good players and relax against the not so good ones. The danger is you fall into the trap of playing their game.”
When the brothers play, Fred always tells the umpire he bets a de Bondt will win.
Since 2002 Fred has defeated Case three times with all the victories in the last few years.
“When Fred beats me I’m convinced I’m happier than he is,” Case said.
“You don’t look like it,” Fred said.
Fred said Case is very good at adapting his game to his opponent.
“I’m a bit one minded. He uses his brain, which is important as you get older,” he said.
A group of basketballers from Korumburra and Wonthaggi won gold in the women 50 plus category.
They all play together in the Korumburra association.
Team captain and organiser Merran Sice said the group has been going to the master’s games for the last 15 years.
“We’ve been all over Australia and New Zealand. We do the games wherever they are being held,” she said.
“A group of us got together and decided that’s what we’d do to keep our basketball going and we enjoy getting together every year.”
It was a back-to-back victory for the women at the World Masters Games after they beat a Brisbane team in their ninth match in nine days.
The happy group went out for dinner to celebrate and then walked along Darling Harbour singing songs.
Many people stopped to congratulate them on their victory.
Mardan’s Robert Gray said he found the World Masters Games fantastic with a capital F.
“It really was amazing running with ex-Olympians and different people from around the world,” he said.
“I was with South Africans, Russians, Germans, Brits and Americans.”
Robert competed in the 100m and 8km cross country, and made it to the semi finals of the 400m and 800m.
“Competing at such a high level event was something I’d never experienced and it’s very rigid,” Robert said.
“For instance, you couldn’t pull out of an event without a medical certificate.”
It was a hot and windy day when the 8km cross country event was run.
As Robert left daughter, Debbie Ackland, who accompanied him to Sydney, said he would see her in 48 minutes.
He ran it in 48 minutes and 54 seconds.
“I had trouble with the heat, but I was very happy with the time,” he said.
As they were waiting at Melbourne Airport, Robert was interviewed and filmed for a television show that will air early next year.
Of the whole experience Robert said: “if that’s what getting old is all about, I won’t mind getting old”.

Short URL: http://www.thestar.com.au/?p=338

Posted by Chris Brown on Nov 4 2009. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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