MASTERS ATHLETES TO COMPETE AT THE WORLD MASTERS ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS (https://wma2013.com/en/) IN BRAZIL (16 – 27 OCTOBER 2013)

MASTERS ATHLETES TO COMPETE AT THE WORLD MASTERS ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIPS (https://wma2013.com/en/)  IN BRAZIL (16 – 27 OCTOBER 2013)

One of the biggest contingents of masters athletes ever to compete at a world championships (16 – 27 October in Porto Alegra, Brazil) will be leaving for Brazil in a few weeks time.   The contingent will consist of +- 60 competitors, plus some partners and supporters.   The athletes are men and women aged between 35 – 90 years  who will compete in a total of more than 200 events.(including three 80+ year olds and one 90 year old) !

(Lucas Nel (90) former Springbok Cross Country Athlete in his youth and still going strong !)

The Team from South Africa will consist of athletes who will be competing in all events – sprints and hurdles, middle and long distances on the track, field events (jumps) and throws, decathlon and heptathlon and pentathlon, as well as a 8km cross country and the marathon which this year will incorporate a half marathon for the first time in the history of the championships.

Over the next few weeks, we will be highlighting some of the athletes' performances who have excelled in past world championships as well as newcomers to the international scene who stand a very good chance to win titles and medals.

Since S.A.’s re-admittance to international sport in 1992, masters from South Africa have participated at every World Championships since 1993.   World Masters Athletics championships ( which includes Track & Field, Cross Country and Road Running and Racewalking)(under the auspices of World Masters Athletics (http://www.world-masters-athletics.org/) and the IAAF  are held every 2 years.   This is one of the biggest events in the world outside of the Olympic Games and usually hosts anything between 3000 -  5000 athletes from approx 70 countries.  The championships programme consists of the full Olympic track and field programme and athletes compete in 5 year age groups, eg. 35 – 39, 40 – 44, etc.   Hurdle and implement (throwing events) specifications are adapted for the older athletes from a certain age upwards.

South Africa has been fortunate to have had a dearth of talented masters athletes over the years, some of which were top athletes in their heyday , but also many who only participated up to school or varsity level, and who have re-discovered their love and talent for the sport at a later age.   Masters Athletics, however, caters for all athletes and for many, it has given them a new lease on life – physically and socially – and they have also formed new friendships.

At local, provincial and at national level, masters athletes compete from age 30, but internationally from age 35 (WMA2013 schedule).   The international scene consists of a mix of competitors.   It offers the opportunity for the more competitive athlete to achieve at the highest level and achieve – world records and medals – to others its more about the camaraderie the sport offers and the chance to rub shoulders with fellow-competitors.   As the championships are open to all competitors over the age of 35, provided they are in good health and consider themselves to be in a relatively good condition to participate, there is no selection process or other criteria for participation, except that athletes need to raise their own sponsorships to travel to, stay and participate at the event.   Although athletes compete in their country’s specified national masters colours, they do not represent their country as such because they are not selected, but take pride when competing in and identifying with their country’s national colours, eg. the green and gold.

The Team from South Africa will consist of athletes who will be competing in all events – sprints and hurdles, middle and long distances on the track, field events (jumps) and throws, decathlon and heptathlon and pentathlon, as well as a 8km cross country and the marathon which this year will incorporate a half marathon for the first time in the history of the championships.


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