Touch down for Dray in golden win
GYMPIE'S Pam Dray still has the golden touch following an outstanding performance at the Pan Pacific Games at the Gold Coast last weekend.
Playing in an over-45 women's touch team, Dray claimed a gold medal after her side defeated Sydney 3-1 in the final.
In order to take out the final, the Gympie touch player, mother of the talented Peta Dray who also plays, contested five rounds. From those five games, Pam's team won four and returned a single draw.
Pam, who played in the middle position, was thrilled with the gold medal winning performance.
Kicking off the winning run was a 3-1 victory in the opening match of the tournament followed by a 5-1 pummelling of home side Gold Coast.
“We played as a team four years ago and won bronze, so it's great to come back again and go better to win gold,” she said.
“I was asked to play because the team was getting together for a reunion and winning the gold was just a bonus after seeing the girls again.”
The Gympie athlete said the team had “slowed down a bit” in the years that have passed but everyone's minds were as sharp as ever.
“We still have it in the mind and the skills are there, so we just played smarter,” she said.
“I play in Gympie against a lot of teenagers so you have to outsmart them using your skills because you won't get them on speed alone.”
After a full program of matches and the punishing final itself, Pam is already being talked into putting her hand up to compete again in two years time.
“I told the girls to ask again in a year or so,” she laughed. “I've pulled up a bit sore this week.”
Pam has been playing touch since the age of 17 and has only missed three seasons – and she had a good excuse.
“I spent time away from the game to have babies,” she said.
“Other than that, I've played every season and I've loved every minute of it.”
When Pam is not playing in representative teams, she is busy playing in the local competition at Albert Park.
There, the touch player encounters players of all ages and is constantly keeping her skills in check.
“The younger players are a real challenge because of their speed,” she said.
“It's a great competition and it keeps you fit because it's such a fast-paced game keeping you on your toes.”
Pam's gold medal at the Pan Pacific Games has capped off an exceptional performance of Gympie athletes at the masters event, attracting international competitors in addition to a host of Australia's best talent.
Joining the touch player in the spotlight were Karel McClintock, Chris Lucas and Dave Ross celebrating success in athletics.