By Wesley Hull
Under the lights on a beautiful, mild Townsville night, the 2016 National Diversity Championships got under way with an opening ceremony at Tony Ireland Stadium. With a cooling light breeze to welcome the event, an enthusiastic crowd, many having travelled from all points of the nation, watched on as the cream of national indigenous and multicultural talent marched onto the field.
With MC for the night, Ms Beth Kempe, welcoming firstly the umpires and then the Kickstart and All Nations Under 15 players to Townsville, the assembled competitors and spectators were treated to a small but focused program of speakers and local entertainment.
Following on from the national anthem, Randall Ross, elder of the local Bindil people, gave the welcome to country on behalf of both the Bindil and Wulgurukaba people on who’s lands the tournament is taking place.
AFL National Diversity Championships Manager, Kashif Bouns, also welcomed competitors, driving home the message for players to be the best that they could be, leave nothing in the tank and give their best for the tournament and in life.
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill welcomed all to the event and to Townsville, highlighting the city’s close involvement with the event past and present.
Local Torres Strait Islander dancers performed for the audience as well as local singers before the event was declared officially open.
Now attention turns to the playing fields of Tony Ireland Stadium and the adjacent River Way Oval as the Kickstart and All Nations competitions get under way. All teams will be in action on Day One of battle.
To follow the progress of the 2016 National Diversity Championships, visit the AFL’s website at: www.afl.com.au/Multicultural for the All Nations competition. Results and updates from the Kickstart competition can be found at: www.afl.com.au/Indigenous
LIVE STREAM LINKS
Day 1 Kickstart
Day 1 All Nation
Day 2 All Nation
Day 2 Kickstart
Day 3 Kickstart
Day 3 All Nation
Day 4 All Nation
Day 4 Kickstart
Day 5 All Nation and Kickstart GRAND FINAL