29 February 2024

Darlington Point's Trevor Hornery on winning sporting medals at age 80

| Oliver Jacques
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elderly man with a can of beer and medal around his neck

Trevor Hornery with his energy drink at the Barellan Masters Games. Photos: Oliver Jacques.

Darlington Point resident Trevor Hornery won the men’s doubles silver medal at the Barellan Masters Games last weekend, just days before he celebrates his 80th birthday.

Since playing sporting icon Tony Roche in juniors, Mr Horney has picked up countless titles as a former resident of Parkes, Griffith, Carrathool and Canberra. His name appears an incredible 36 times on the Griffith Tennis Club honours board.

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Region caught up with the oldest competitor in his event while he was having a cigarette and beer between sets to find out the secret to his longevity.

Do you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle to keep playing high-level tennis until you’re 80?

Not really. I still smoke about 10 to 12 ciggies a day. I like the odd beer, too.

But you must have a good diet.

Nah, I don’t each much salad and I don’t like fruit. I like meat and potatoes and ice cream. I eat a lot of Weet-Bix.

Do you get many injuries?

Not for a long time. In my 20s, I was playing in Temora, I was running back to get a lob and I heard my Achilles snap. But that’s the only injury I’ve had. In the 50 or so years since, I haven’t had any injuries while playing, though I had a knee replacement when I retired.

elderly man on tennis court

Trevor is still as sharp as ever at the net.

What are some of your best tennis memories?

I played [former world No. 1] Tony Roche in a junior boys’ tournament when we were both 14 and he was living in Tarcutta. I won’t tell you the score, though.

Later, I got to do some coaching with John Newcombe and Tony Roche. They were both great blokes.

What’s your greatest on-court achievement?

Winning the Australasian men’s doubles for over 45s. I was playing with a Canberran named Phil Higgs. We won a few NSW veterans’ doubles tournaments together. He ended up No. 1 in the world for seniors.

I also won Griffith’s MIA Open twice and I won gold at the Barellan Masters the last time I was here, for the men’s doubles, partnering with my son Brad.

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You’ve been married to wife Margaret for 45 years. Does marriage help or hinder a sporting career?

She is very supportive. She didn’t mind me going away to play tennis a lot.

Have you played any other sports?

I played a lot of cricket as a wicketkeeper/batsman. I also like golf and lawn bowls. When I was younger, I played rugby league for the Griffith Waratahs.

I moved to Darlington Point because I like to go fishing.

Any advice for those who hope to still be playing in our 80s?

Just keep at it. Don’t get frustrated when you start to miss the odd ball.

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