IT’S been a bone of contention for as longas sport has been played in this part of the world. Just which is the mostsuccessful sporting town in country NSW?
The title has been long held by many tobelong to Wagga Wagga. The Riverina powerhouse has produced a host ofAustralia’s best known sporting stars in the likes of Peter Sterling, MarkTaylor and Paul Kelly.
But a passionate group of Queanbeyan localsbelieve Q-Town can lay its own claim to the mantle and what’s more, they wantto prove it.
“I personally think Queanbeyan is the mostsuccessful country town in terms of raising sporting champions in country NSW,”long-time local Col Berry told TheQueanbeyan Age. “We’ve had something like 114 State and National sportingidentities come out of Queanbeyan, the next closest is Wagga with about 70 or80.
“The media constantly refers to the ‘WaggaEffect’ when speaking of the achievements of country sportsmen and women in NSWwhen Queanbeyan is probably closer to the mark than Wagga.
“Of course there are a number of smallerNSW towns that would argue, per capita, their sporting record in the best incountry NSW.”
In order to go some way to settling thedebate, Berry and a like-minded group of Queanbeyan sporting figures are proposinga state-wide ‘Challenge of Champions’.
The challenge would pit towns and citiesfrom across the state against each other in a series of sporting competitionsto be hosted in Queanbeyan.
According to Berry, a number of localsporting organisations representing basketball, cricket, rugby league, rugbyunion, lawn bowls, golf and netball clubs have indicated their support for theproposal.
“Theidea first came up back in 2007 when a group of us were discussing howQueanbeyan is so successful in gaining representatives in various sports and itdeveloped from there,” Berry said. “We thought, why don’t we introduce achallenge to determine NSW’s champion sporting town?”
It’s not the first time such an idea hasbeen proposed. Berry was behind a similar plan in 2009 but the event never gotoff the ground.
This time however, Berry said the tournamenthad been streamlined toward a more achievable goal.
“[In 2009] we just made it a bit too bigand a bit too confusing for a first-time product,” he said. “We learnt a fewlessons from that. I’m quite confident the refined product we’ve got now isgoing to get the right people interested.”
Berry also said he was hopeful the re-bornconcept would tie in with Queanbeyan’s 175th birthday celebrationsnext year.
Currently, the tournament organisingcommittee is engaged in raising public awareness and plans to survey sportingassociations from around the state later this year to gauge their interest.
Queanbeyan Basketball president Jan Browneis one of those supportive of the Champions of Champions project.
“We haven’t had a big sporting carnival inQueanbeyan since the Bicentennial year in 1988 so I think anything that bringssport here is a great initiative,” Browne said.
“Clubs and sporting teams are always lookingfor carnivals to play in around the state. Certainly in basketball they’restill a popular attraction and I think something like [the Challenge ofChampions] will attract interest.”
Local sporting identity Col Berry, Queanbeyan Basketball president Jan Browne and Queanbeyan Golf Club captain Jan Stensrud are three of those behind the proposed Challenge of Champions sporting event. Photo: Andrew Johnston
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.