The 2018 Martu Youth Festival was an exciting and historical event for the people of the Western Desert region.
For the first time in Western Desert history female footballers were introduced into the tournament structure.
This was a community driven initiative which made this a truly significant achievement.
The 2018 festival was a focus on local youth, made possible by the continued support of long-term founding sponsor Newcrest Mining Limited and Healthway, ‘Make Smoking History’. Newcrest Mining has always been a champion of local talent and promotes sport to open the doors to future opportunities for young Martu people.
Highlighting young talent was a new initiative directed by the Ngurra Kujungka (NK) Council. It was designed to create sporting pathways for the young people of the Western Desert by showcasing to sporting organisations such as West Coast Eagles (Naitanui Academy), Swan Districts, Western Australian Football Commission (WAFC), Softball WA and Basketball WA.
With these organisations attending the festival, the intensity and standard on field was at an all-time high. Players had the perfect opportunity to show their skills and talent, so they may be identified for future programs beyond the Western Desert.
Newcrest Senior Community Relations Advisor at Telfer, Daniel Tincknell, said that Newcrest was proud to be a major sponsor of the Youth Festival, and sees the importance of this significant event. “The Youth Festival is an integral part of Ngurra Kujungka’s annual events calendar, with the Festival providing major and unique opportunities for young people who get to train with the best of the best and may receive opportunities beyond the Western Desert. It’s also an amazing social event where communities come together and enjoy great concerts and generally have a fantastic time.”
A major event at the festival was the 2018 Western Desert Cup which was won by Punmu after they held off a sharp Kiwirrkurra outfit to take out the grand final 8.2.50 to 5.2.32. In the women’s football, 3 teams battled it out in the inaugural female football cup. From the first to last whistle the girls slogged it out in the sand in an entertaining match. Punmu gained momentum after half time and held off their more fancied rivals in front of their home crowd.
The Softball Desert Cup produced some fierce competition between Punmu, Nullagine, Kiwirrkurra and Warralong. Softball WA representative Alison Brooks umpired the games throughout the week and passed on many great tips to the players. Punmu’s experience was evident and they won by 2 runs 6-4, with player of the tournament going to Morika Biljabu from Punmu after her outstanding performance. Yuparra and Kakarra teams were selected to travel to Perth in February to play 3 exhibition matches.
The basketball competition showcased some younger talent at the festival. Targeted at the ages of 10 and below the kids got to learn new skills and games from the Basketball WA representative Austin Krapljanov. There were over 25 participants, which is an exciting sign of rising basketball stars in the future.
Desert Feet Tour organised the evening concerts which showcased talented young and old musicians, with a number of different bands, providing amazing entertainment that got the crowd singing and dancing during the chilly nights.
Sincere thanks to major sponsors Newcrest Mining Ltd and Healthway “Make Smoking History”, for supporting the 2018 Martu Youth Festival.