There’s an old saying “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy.” What does this mean? It means if you only work and have no opportunity for fun, then life can be very dull and boring. In our modern times, this is often referred to as having a “Work/Life Balance” – work hard set goals, achieve but make sure some part of your life is kept open for recreation and enjoyment.
Vanuatu’s para athletics team, currently in Darwin for the Arafura Games, is working very hard. Up before sunrise to stretch and work out, then a full morning of lectures on eating well to sustain intense training programs, planning training schedules, learning new techniques and rules is keeping the para team of 5 athletes – Matthias Nakat, David Niere, Elie Enock, Ken Kahu, Georges Langa and coach Hellen Aruwetti — very busy indeed.
“We have a full morning of technical training then after lunch off we go to Marrara Stadium to practice shot put, javelin, sprint starts and warm up/cool down exercises,” explains George Langa from Mele. “It’s all pretty intense, especially as we have two Olympic Level High performance coaches and a multi medal paralympic athlete as our trainers! Raylene Bates is from New Zealand’s High Performance Centre and Chris Nunn from Australia has trained both able bodied and para athletes at Olympic level.”
But in amongst all of the hard work of training, there’s been time planned for a bit of fun.
“We had 8 hours in Sydney waiting for our connecting flight so we went to see the Sydney Harbour the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge,” explains Elie Ennock. “We were just amazed at the traffic, tunnels under the roads, the huge Easter crowds and multi-storey buildings everywhere.”
In Darwin, before the serious program of training and lectures started, the team also had a day off. So they hopped into a free bus provided for Arafura teams and went to “Crocodylus Park.”
“We saw enormous salt water crocodiles, snakes, dingoes, emus, kangaroos, even lions, lemurs and monkeys. It was such fun!” commented David Niere from Tanna.
A little bit of shopping for clothes and souvenirs to take home as gifts for family members and friends is planned but definitely no swimming on Darwin’s long stretches of beaches.
“No way!” jokes Langa, “After seeing 4 metre long salt water crocodiles, the swimming pool at our hotel is very attractive and safe!”