The Arafura Games came on the scene in 1991 as the Arafura Sports Festival with 1,500 athletes competing in 13 sports from 7 different countries. The Arafura Games is a week long multi sport competition held biennially in Darwin, NT and are managed by the Northern Territory Government. The games are more of a development gaming event for athletes from the region to use as a stepping stone in their athletic career.
This year, the Arafura Games had 20 sports and for the third time,incorporated the Oceania Paralympic Championships into the games. Having able bodied athletes and athletes with a disability competing in the same program is a unique feature of the Arafura Games. The Oceania Paralympic Championships competed in four sports-Athletics, Powerlifting, Swimming and Table Tennis.
The opening ceremony was so spectacular with an aerial show from the Royal Australian Air Force’s eilte acrobatic team, the Roulettes. Tiwi Island band B2M performed a mix of urban groove, digital beat and Indigenous rhythm and blues. B2M are the winners of the 2008 NT Indigenous Music Award Emerging Act of the Year.
Other musical performances were from the Saltwater Band, Manuel Nulupani Dhurrkay, legendary Australian band Ice House and pop star Jessica Mauboy. It was such a fun night and really set a precedent for the Games.
We tried to get to every event at least once, but I have to say, one of my favorite sports to watch was the Sepak Takraw because I had never seen or heard of the sport before.