Posted on Mar 13, 2018

Guest speaker at the last meeting Sam Coffa has served Australia for more than 40 years as an outstanding athlete and sports administrator.  He arrived in Australia as a 12 year old lad in 1957.

Sam referred to a couple of his simple philosophies “any job do it well” and keep an “open mind” as always uppermost in any of his endeavours.  It showed in his reflections as he highlighted aspects of the current Commonwealth Games.

One notes that he represented Australia at the 1964 World Championships, the 1962 Commonwealth Games (then British Empire and Commonwealth Games) in Perth and the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games as a weightlifter.

Most relevant to us he is a long term Hawthorn citizen and instrumental in many community initiatives including city councillor and two times mayor.

Across a distinguished career as a sports administrator, Sam has held almost every leadership or administrative-level position within his chosen sport and the Australian Commonwealth Games Association.  In more recent times he was Deputy Chairman of the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games Bid Committee and 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games Organising Committee.

Now as Deputy Chair of the present committee for the Gold Coast Games we got an insight into their extent.  Alas Sam was a bit guarded about any predictions of gold medals (“it’s tough on the athletes and they all strive for their best”).

They run from 4 April until 15 April.  Events are intermingled for regular and para athletes.

18 Sports will be contested. 71 Nations will be represented ranging from Nauru pop 10,000 to India pop 1.2 billion.

Equal numbers of events for men and women.  Queensland has funded upgrading venues by $320M.

The tourism industry is dramatically enhanced.  Still 160,000 tickets of over one million issues are available.

6,500 athletes and officials will be involved.

After listening to Sam one was assured that the Commonwealth Games are still very relevant to this world.  The critical element is the athletes and their exploits, personal stories and interactions.  It will overshadow any of the perceived political disharmonies in the world.