Wednesday, 12 April 2023
Oceania Cup Opening Ceremony
I am delighted, as Patron of Archery South Australia, to join you in the beautiful Adelaide Hills for the Opening Ceremony of the Oceania Cup.
I especially welcome those who have come from overseas and interstate to compete with our archers from around Australia and our own State of South Australia.
I also recognise the presence here today of Archery SA Vice President Mr Bruce Lang, who in the recent Australia Day Honours was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for his service to archery.
I look forward to presenting Mr Lang with his medal at Government House next week. Congratulations Bruce!
At last, after the disruptions of COVID-19 restrictions we can gather for the first time since 2018 to compete in the Oceania Cup in a spirit of friendly rivalry.
To have been chosen by the peak archery bodies in your countries to represent your nation at these competitions is something of which you can rightly beproud.
My own very modest experience of archery goes back sports lessons in High School.
Yet, please be assured that from that early taste of archery I have long admired the skills of the archer – the precision, the concentration, the composure, the gratifying “thunk” when the arrow meets the target – hopefully in the yellow.
It’s a great sport; one that tests you personally, builds strength, co-ordination, endurance and patience, but also is a great way to socialise with others who love the sport.
I need not remind an audience such as this that archery is one of the oldest arts still practised today, with its beginnings attributed to the Middle Stone Age in North Africa, even predating the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Chinese, Roman and Greek Dynasties.
Fast forward to 1836 when South Australia was first settled by Europeans, and Colonel William Light, the first Surveyor General who planned the layout of Adelaide, is known to have been an archer. His bow and arrows are in a collection currently held by the South Australian Museum.
Today, your love of archery is part of that continuum where people have harnessed the power of the bow and arrow in its various historical applications, connecting the sportspeople of today with our ancestors.
Archery is undoubtedly a sport of inclusion. Generally, men, women, children, able bodied people and archers living with disability can and do compete together.
I was delighted to learn that in the modern era, archery pioneered equality for women’s participation in sport and it was one of the first to include a women’s event at the 1904 Olympics.
I am not sure that the long skirts, and Sunday best blouses and hats we see in photographs of those days would be prescribed today!
That aside, it is wonderful that participation at this Oceania Cup is about half and half along gender lines. That is something of which you can all be proud.
Any amateur sport at this level requires commitment; the juggling of hours of practice and competitions alongside the obligations of employment, study or family needs, including time away from home.
It also relies on the dedication of those on the governing bodies, the officials, the volunteers, those who billet the visitors, the families and friends who stand on the sidelines to encourage and applaud the competitors. I thank you for your support of archery and through your efforts, investing in its longevity.
To all the athletes, welcome and good luck.
I understand that a few of you have already competed here in the Trans-Tasman Challenge just last week and are ready to take on more competition.
Congratulations to the organisers who have organised the two competitions with very short notice; only two to three months. What a fantastic effort!
To all those competing in the Oceania Cup, I wish you well for the competition. I hope you enjoy testing your skills, enjoying each other’s company and will take home fond memories of the Adelaide Hills.
May you all aim high and shoot straight.
It gives me great pleasure to officially open the games.