Former Hockey player Brent Livermore (centre) enters the stadium with the Queen's Baton during the Opening Ceremony of the XXI Commonwealth Games at Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast, Australia, Wednesday, April 4, 2018.
Former Hockey player Brent Livermore (centre) enters the stadium with the Queen's Baton during the Opening Ceremony of the XXI Commonwealth Games at Carrara Stadium on the Gold Coast, Australia, Wednesday, April 4, 2018. DARREN ENGLAND

Grafton proud to see golden boy on Games centre stage

COMMONWEALTH GAMES: Did you watch the Commonwealth Games opening ceremony last night? Chances are, you got a glimpse of a former Grafton champion.

One of the most successful athletes to ever come out of the Jacaranda City, and a three-time COmmonwealth Games gold medallist, Brent Livermore was front and centre during the ceremony.

After earlier carrying the Queen's Baton through the streets of Bellingen in February, Livermore was again recognised for his contribution to Australian sport when asked to carry the baton during the official ceremony.

Livermore accepted the baton from Australian netball stalwart Liz Ellis, and carried it around Carrara Stadium, before handing it over to final recipient and Gold Coast golden girl Sally Pearson.

It was a proud moment for the local Grafton Hockey Association, and president Peter Fysh, who have a field named after the former Australian captain.

"It is a proud moment for us,” Fysh said. "It is great to see all athletes get the chance to carry the baton, but for Brent and his family that would have been a really big moment.

"You could see he was stoked to be there on centre stage and hand the baton over to Sally Pearson, she is a legend in her own right.

"It was a good moment for him and Grafton hockey. We are very proud of our athletes that come out of our town in any sport, but especially the ones on the hockey fields.”

It would have also been a special moment for Brent's parents, Sue and Barry, who still dedicate their time to supporting the local association.

It has been a tough 12 months for the Livermore family after Barry was felled by a stroke on-field during the Hockey Men's Masters NSW State Championships last year.

But after a long road, things are beginning to turn around for the local champion, and it would have been a proud moment to see their son on centre stage.

"Barry and Sue give a lot back to our hockey community and they deserved to see their son recognised like that,” Fysh said. "The family has gone through a tough time recently, but Barry has recovered and things are going very well for him now.”

The timing of Livermore's recognition at the Commonwealth Games could not have come at a better time, with the local hockey season taking to the fields for the first time in 2018 this weekend.

Junior hockey will begin in the Under 11, Under 13 and Under 16 divisions tonight, while the junior girls and women will kick off on Saturday followed by the men's competition on Sunday.

While the association has lost a few numbers from last seaosn, Fysh said it was not too much of a concern.

"Things are going really well, we are cruising along into the season,” he said. "The committees have been working hard to get the draws and the behind the scenes work completed.

"We are a little bit down on numbers, but that happens in all sorts of sports. You lose a lot of kids to university and other adventures, but that is not going to deter us from playing the game that we love.”



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