Ipswich is all but certain to play a significant part if South East Queensland’s bid to host the Olympic Games gets off the ground.
This sports-loving region is in prime position to be the base for several events for the Summer Games of 2032.
The SEQ Council of Mayors, of which Ipswich is part of, has launched a feasibility study assessing the ability of hosting the games in the southeast corner.
It is predicted that the globe’s biggest sporting spectacle would bring in an additional 100,000 visitors as well as 10,500 competing athletes.
And Ipswich – its league-loving, football-fanatical, and netball-nurturing sports community – would put its collective hand up to welcome one and all.
So what sport might have a chance of being based out west?
The traditional Olympic sports will undoubtedly go to venues used for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, so Ipswich’s chances might rely on demonstration or alternative sports, some of which might be more mainstream in 13 years’ time.
Ipswich First today runs the rule over several contenders and invites you to have a say.
NINJA WARRIOR: This made-for-television obstacles event is winning over the audiences faster than a nifty ninja missing his mark and making a splash. The second Australian series has just wrapped up, again without a definitive champion, and is gaining a foothold in local gyms with adults and children alike. The new sporting complex at Springfield Central or the amphitheatre of Limestone Park would be ideal venues.
AIR RACING: It is described as the fastest motorsport on earth with the tiny jets reaching speeds of 800km/h. But you need a big open space, like an airfield – RAAF Base Amberley immediately springs to mind. The head-to-head air racing has been a fixture in the deserts of the US for 50 years and thrills big crowds. It is often combined with a major air show, which would be a chance to show off our Globemasters and Raptors.
10 PIN BOWLING: Everyone in Ipswich loves throwing rocks, of the bowling kind, and with a new alley in the Ipswich CBD and one planned for Springfield Central (and another already on the doorstep at Richlands), the likelihood of hearing crashing pins and strikes is extremely high. This family-friendly sport might need a purpose built arena, such as on the Jets oval, and would certainly bring in the crowds.
TRAIL RUNNING: The Olympics caters for everything in running – track sprinting through to the road marathon – but the hugely popular and expanding world of trail running has largely been ignored. White Rock-Spring Mountain Conservation Estate is a trail runners dream with a 37km trails network spread over 2,500 hectares of stunning bushland. Organised trail races have been held there and the offroad model is almost outgrowing its road cousin.
JET SKI SPRINTS: With Ipswich’s two 2020 mayoral candidates pushing their major plans for the Bremer River – one wants a hydro power station/dam and the other wants a hard shoreline on the CBD section of the river – there is definitely scope for a water sport. Rowing and yachting have other more suitable locations, but the locals’ love of motorsport would fit in nicely with jet ski competitors battling it out on the beautiful brown Bremer.
DUATHLON: Triathlon (swim, bike, run) made its presence felt for the first time at the 2000 Sydney games and Australia has always done well. But duathlon (run, bike , run) is just as popular across the world, because the swim is usually detested by these three-sport athletes and can be ditched. Ipswich has the perfect venue at the new cycle park behind the Briggs Road sporting complex with its 1.4km track catering for cyclists and runners side-by-side.
E-SPORTS: A 16-year-old just won $3 million playing in the Fortnite World Cup in New York’s Arthur Ashe Tennis Stadium. This phenomenon might not last another 5 years, but League of Legends could still be around, and perhaps more realistically, a video game that has not yet been invented by some current prep school student. Ipswich gamers certainly love their Fortnite, Call of Duty, Hearthstone and Dota 2.
Of course, there are dozens of other suggestions: football could be staged at the Western Pride ground, rugby sevens at the Jets oval, tennis cashing in on current world #1 Ash Barty and playing a round at her very own court, archery, shooting, skydiving, even hot air ballooning fits in with the territory.
Some wags came up with options that are highly unlikely to make the list, but have an element of local knowledge. So, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, try these for Ipswich innovative sports:
- Shopping trolley derby (using all the discarded trolleys collected from the Bremer Rover clean-up and race down the new Nicholas St)
- Burnout donuts (there seem to be so many experts here, the games could feature a synchronised event at Willowbank’s Queensland Raceway)
- Chin ups and other gym equipment exercises (we have a coach available to give some tips, do as I say not as I do; and top-class gear across council parks)
- Street/building decorating (for those graffiti artists with their bring-your-own cans and widely-honed skills, some of the laneway art here is very impressive)