The annals of Sydney’s history are set to be ruptured this Sunday when the winner of the Wentworth Park Games is announced.
Pyrmont and Ultimo will fight Glebe and Forest Lodge over the battlefields of dog racing, Petanque, wine glass racing and Tug’o’war to clinch the ultimate prize of the gumboot GUP Cup.
Glebe and Forest Lodge have won the last three years and Co-organiser and Glebeian Ken Saunders said this is unlikely to change.
“The key to their victory in my opinion is not because we are better athletes, but because the Glebian masses have turned out in greater numbers . . . that, and our dogs are smarter. “
The day’s most prestigious event is the hallowed Wenty Park Mongrel Cup, where local dog owners pit their household pets, regardless of athletic ability of size, against one another on the Wentworth racetrack.
Mr Saunders said: “It overcomes many of the routines of greyhound racing, such as the dogs all running the same direction or running at all for that matter. It introduces much needed total chaos into racing.”
“It is hilarious to see dogs flying off in all directions, closely followed by their owners,” said Elizabeth Elenius, member of the Blackwattle Cove Coalition (BCC) who helped start the event.
However, Mr Saudners said glory isn’t exclusive for dogs. This year will feature the return of the epic contest of wine-racing.
“This event dates back to a jousting tournament in 14th Century France. When the Dukes de Guise and de Chalus were both unhorsed on one pass, it was Bernard, the squire of the duc de Guise, who rushed a goblet of restorative claret to his master first. De Guise then finished off his opponent with a mace,” he said.
The community games aren’t just about frivolity and victory, beneath the canine chaos and chardonnay swigs there is a celebration of the success of the community in restoring Wentworth Park.
The BCC have been working with government and the Sporting Complex Trust for years to improve the area between Glebe and Pyrmont.
This year’s organisers, Mr Saunders and Mary Mortimer, said the Blackwattle Bay area was once a neglected wasteland and events like this promote good use of the land.
“The Blackwattle Cove Coalition aims to pursue rejuvenation of this area and make it a significant asset to the surrounding communities by improving public access and community facilities in the Blackwattle Bay/Wentworth Park precinct,” she said.
“The Games are organised by the community for the community. They celebrate the grand old park, created in the nineteenth century when the powers that be realised that the ground was too polluted and too swampy for houses to be built on it.”
Ms Elenius said the games have been a large part of this process.
“The Games are to raise awareness of the benefits of Wentworth Park . . . We also try to highlight the long sporting history of the park. This year the Games feature heritage mini racing cars which were raced at Wentworth Park many years ago.”
Ms Elenius said she hoped this year’s Games could new local sporting teams.
“It would be good if the Games could encourage a push for new local teams which could use Wentworth Park. I note that there is currently a push for a local hockey ground. Maybe Wentworth Park could be considered?”
Before any new developments occur around the park, Ms Elenius has her mind focused on one thing, victory.
“We Pyrmontians live in hope of victory this year.”
The games kick off at 10:45 on Sunday October 16 with a performance by the junior jazz band from the International Grammar School.