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The Kia ora coo-ee : the magazine for the ANZACS in the Middle East, 1918

The Arena

The Arena

The site chosen for the Sports grounds—there were three rings-was a wide valley, with sea dunes on one side, and on the other hills that loomed blue in the distance. An ideal spot. Never before had it seen such sports as these; but of old time, perchance, strange festivals were held in this smiling vale, with white-robed priests, dancing girls and heifers garlanded for sacrifice. Men have fought here, the noise of battle has rolled away to the hills. On March 9th., there were tumult and cheers, but all was in honour of friendly contests, in which men hardened to war showed their strength and skill.

There was a score of events, ranging from a machine gun competition to Officers' Flutter, and each was keenly contested. The attendance was large enough to please the most enthusiastic lover of sport. It is safe to say, that some 500 officers and between 5.000 and 6.000 N. C. O's and men were present. From an aeroplane, the green vale would appear as splashed with moving masses of khaki.

The Sports were organised by a Committee, representing each Mounted Division unit. Major-General H. Hodgson, C.V.O., C.B. was the President, and Major H. K. Gordon, Senior Chaplain, A M. D. Forces, Hon. Secretary. Lieut.-Colonel L.J. Todd, D.S.O., had charge of all the catering arrangements, while Major Watson acted as ringmaster. Among the trophies were several cups, presented by Brig.-General Wilson, CMC, Lieut.-Col. Preston, D.S.O., Brig.-General Grant, D.S.O., Major-General Hodgson, C. V. O., C. B., and Brig.-General P. V. Kelly, C.M.G., respectively. The cup which was first prize in the championship jumping competition (open to Desert Mounted Corps) was presented by general officers of the Australian Mounted Division.