Thursday, 4 April 2019
Bunbury Geographe Gift
Last month saw the Bunbury Geographe Gift celebrate its second year, which brings some of the best athletes not only from around Australia but also internationally to the city of Bunbury. It is an event that combines two of my favourite things: sport and bringing people to our amazing South-West. The Bunbury Geographe Gift is a two-day athletic event attracting some of the most talented runners and sprinters to our region, similar to the Stawell Gift and the Leonora Golden Gift in the Goldfields.
The first Bunbury Geographe Gift was held last year and featured Olympic athletes and Commonwealth Games medal winners, as well as some of the most talented juniors in our great country. Athletes and their families and friends flocked to Bunbury for the inaugural Bunbury Geographe Gift, allowing these visitors to enjoy not just Bunbury itself but also the entire South-West. Volunteers and organisers worked around the clock to make it one of the best inaugural events ever held in our region, with races ranging from 90-metre sprints to longer distances across a range of age groups, culminating in the men's and women's 120-metre gift. One of Bunbury's finest athletes Dylan Panizza made the final of the major race, where he came fourth against some of the best sprinters from across Australia. This was a fantastic achievement.
This year, as an opener for the event, a pole vault competition was held in the main street of Bunbury, which saw some of the best competitors in Australia, including Commonwealth Games medallist Nina Kennedy, impress the large crowd gathered in the CBD. This year's Bunbury Geographe Gift saw a 54 per cent increase in competitors, as well as an impressive increase in sponsorship, which meant that it was free entry for all spectators. This year's women's gift winner was Perth sprinter Eliza Wilson, while the men's event was won by South Australian athlete Jesse Cordoma.
After only two years, the Bunbury Geographe Gift is one of the most anticipated events in my electorate of Forrest in the South-West and has brought a welcomed boost to local tourism and hospitality. I want to thank those who helped put this event together, some of those including Colin Piacentini, Tom Dillon, Dylan Panizza, Jo O'dea and the host of volunteers who work behind the scenes. I would also like to thank the Bunbury Runners Club for their hard work in hosting the event.
It's after only two years that the Bunbury Geographe Gift has become one of the highlights of the South-West sporting calendar, and I look forward to seeing it grow bigger and better in the future. But mostly I would like to say: thank you very, very much to all of the volunteers who work tirelessly for weeks and months in advance to make these events happen. There's always a small group; they are outstanding people and great people in my community. They do a fantastic job, and this event is the result.