GWEN Sicely took up croquet 32 years ago. She regrets not doing it earlier.
“I had friends who played the game at Koroit and they asked me to come and learn,” she said.
“I thought twice about it because I’d been a farmer’s wife who milked cows and reared kids.
“My husband talked me into it. He said I was a jolly fool if I didn’t.
“For many a day since, I haven’t been home.”
Croquet has given Sicely so much and now she is doing what she can to give back to the sport.
The 86-year-old Warrnambool resident is the patron for the South West Games, which has its opening ceremony tonight.
“It is definitely an honour, because I’ve been a croquet player for many years and I always felt croquet was left in the dark,” she said.
“I’m helping to promote croquet by being patron of the Games. This is the third time I’ve done it. One was four years ago and one eight years ago.”
Croquet is one of about 60 sports which are part of the 30th annual South West Games.
Warrnambool City Council is hosting the multi-sport festival, which officially runs from tomorrow until November 11, with events across the region.
Minority sports drag racing, scuba diving and yachting join the likes of hockey, soccer and golf. More than 6000 people are set to take part.
The opening ceremony will feature a parade down Warrnambool’s Liebig Street from 6pm before a formal launch at the Civic Green.
Sicely and Camperdown Paralympian Josh Hose will present medals across the weekend and into next week.
Visit www.southwestgames.com.au for a full list of events.