Tags: Surf Lifesaving Queensland. Bribie island. Nippers. Junior. Commonwealth Games
NIPPERS LED THE WAY
The 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games are well and truly over and all the athletes, supporters and volunteers are getting on with the next stage of their life, whatever that may be, and for many, especially those who played a role in the event, their time at the games has given them memories that they will cherish forever.
There are eight Bribie Island Junior Surf Lifesaving Club Nippers who can be included in that group due to having been a part of the contingent of fifty-seven Nippers from as far away as Ayr in North Queensland who was tasked with leading the teams from each nation into the arena at the opening ceremony. Liz Palmer, the Bribie Island club’s Publicity Officer explained that after Surf Lifesaving Queensland sent out a request for Nippers to apply for the role, Vic Fioran, the Bribie club’s Junior Activities Officer, suggested that the parents forward an application for their youngsters to be chosen.
‘I was probably the last of the Bribie parents to apply and that was in late January,’ Liz told me. ‘My three kids were chosen and I was surprised to find out later that they were actually short of the required number. Whilst we had eight who attended, some of the clubs, even the ones nearby to the games, only had sent one or two,’ she said. Liz described how they had to make the trip to the Gold Coast every Thursday for about nine weeks to attend the training sessions and, in the final week before the opening ceremony, she made the decision to rent accommodation nearby.
Liz said that this was to result in the other Bribie Nippers stayed there with her and her children and she regarded this as a win for all concerned. ‘It was great. My three had company and they all bonded over the time we were there,’ said Liz. ‘As well as being close to the practise sessions, we had free passes to the various theme parks and I took them there in our downtime,’ she added.
When the time for the opening ceremony arrived, it was announced that, as there were seventy-one countries and only fifty-seven Nippers, it would be necessary for some of the Nippers to return in order to lead out the second team.
Liz told me that it was so good to find out that a Bribie Nipper would lead the Australian team into the arena. For the uneducated, (myself included) the Bribie Island Nippers could be identified by the lightning bolt insignia on their caps. As the teams made their way out, it was Bailin Haji who ushered Australia into view, Abigail Van Haren showed the way for Bangladesh, Madeline Palmer brought out Trinidad and Tobago and Joshua Palmer was in front of Sierra Leone.
The lightning bolt again came into the view when Blake Schmid led Singapore, Ngaire Harris was in front of Mauritius, Oliver Palmer brought Montserrat out and Zara Mould kept Dominica heading in the right direction. Bailin Haji was the one from Bribie who was chosen to bring out a second team which was Lesotho.
These young Bribie Islanders who played such an important role in what can best be described as a truly splendid ceremony must be congratulated for their efforts in front of the world stage. Bailin, Abigail, Madeline, Joshua and Blake, along with Ngaire, Oliver and Zara, you have done your country, your state and your island proud.
If anyone would like to inquire about their children joining the Bribie Island Junior Surf lifesaving Club Nippers, they can call 3408 1188 for details.