Man of Many Talents

Seventy-two-year old Eane Whitton has more energy than most 20-year-olds.

The Victorian man has played tennis, basketball and a bit of touch – as well as refereed a basketball match – at these Games.

When he’s not competing in Alice Springs, Whitton is an Australian 70+ Test cricket player.

He said he might have squeezed cricket in to his Games schedule but it was too hot to play in Central Australia.

Whitton toured England with the Australian 70+ cricket team and averaged 130 in two Tests and 240 in nine games against county teams. He also toured India with a team from Victoria two years ago.

The spritely athlete has collected tennis doubles gold medals at five consecutive Games with playing partner Ian Clark, and will be playing for a basketball gold medal today.

He is the oldest competitor on the basketball court where he’s playing with an Alice Springs side after the retirement of all the players in his Western Australia 60+ side.

Whitton’s winning tennis partnership with Clark began in 2006.

“I played against Ian in the singles final and he asked me if I wanted to play doubles in 2008,” he said.

“We’ve become good friends and he has beaten me three times including that first clash.

“I’ve also won the mixed doubles with Yvonne Perks from Ballarat and she has also become a good friend.

“Yvonne has been to all 16 Alice Springs Masters Games.

“She was the Victorian badminton champion and originally came to the Games to play that but switched to tennis after the first couple of years.

“That’s what these Games are about – participation; not necessarily winning all the time.”

There’ll be no rest for Whitton after the Games. He’s heading to Perth for a school reunion, then back to Melbourne for a week at work before heading to Perth for the national cricket championships.

He said there were 500 players in the 60+ and 70+ nationals.

Whitton said he kept returning to Alice Springs for the Games because of the camaraderie.

“These Games are terrific for friendships. I have made some very good friends over the years,” he said.

“Matt Roberts does a fantastic job organising the tennis. His efforts are what brings people back to the Games.

“I’m looking forward to coming back in 2018.”