Northern Territory Government Newsroom

Bringing Back the Arafura Games: Drawing to a Close

The intense but inclusive rivalry of the 2019 Arafura Games is coming to an end.

There have been outstanding performances and stories of impressive sporting prowess.

Nearly 250 medals have been awarded with two days of competition still to go. Games records have been falling, particularly in swimming where 12 records were broken and 23 inaugural records set.

The Cook Islands' Kirsten Fisher-Marsters and Bede Aitu broke two Games records in swimming. Fisher-Marsters set a new record in the women’s 17 and over 200m breaststroke (2.54.85), while Aitu set a Games record in the men’s 17 and over 200m backstroke (2.16.22). While competing, they discovered they’d been awarded the 2018 Cook Island Sportswoman of the Year and the 2018 Cook Island Junior Sportsman of the Year respectively.

With competition in half of the 15 sports now complete, most of the athletes are now enjoying what the city and surrounds have to offer. Darwin City will be turning it on for the athletes tonight and tomorrow.

The popular Laneway Series will be a favoured destination. Kicking off from 4pm under the new Cavenagh Street shade structure, athletes can chill out to music and enjoy a range of food and drink options.

The Smith Street Mall Boutique Markets will also be offering athletes the chance to do a bit of late night retail shopping at a range of stalls. More food and music will be on offer from 4pm as the Games’ buzz spreads.

Athletes and local can wander between the two locations via Austin Lane which will be specially lit to showcase our vibrant street art.

Tomorrow athletes will have another opportunity to soak up our great Territory lifestyle. Italian nonnas and mamas will be doing live cooking demos at a pop-up stall in Raintree Park. The Pasta in the Park event will be an exciting preview to next weekend’s biennial Italian Festival.

The Closing Celebration will top off tomorrow’s entertainment at the Darwin Waterfront with a distinctive tribute to the Arafura Sea and its people. The program showcases schools, local dance companies and some of the Territory’s finest musicians, Shellie Morris, Leah Flanagan, Stevie Jean and Skinnyfish Sound System.

Quote from Minister for the Arafura Games, Natasha Fyles:

“The Arafura Games has been an amazing sporting bonanza. I’ve been to every sport over the past six days and the quality of athletes and the level of competition has been quite impressive.

“The Territory Labor Government is extremely proud to have hosted these Games after the CLP killed them off in 2011. It’s been eight years in the making but they are definitely back with a bang.

 “Darwin City is alive. I hear so many stories of retailers and business owners talking about the lift the Games has given to the City. It’s not just hospitality businesses but barbers, retailers, nail salons and others.

 “The Arafura Games touches so many parts of our community. If Territorians haven’t already checked out the competition, they still have today and tomorrow to soak up the great atmosphere.”

Media contact: Cameron Angus 0404 021 192.