Archive for June, 2011



July 6-17, 2011

Sacramento State University, Sacramento California




The World Masters Athletics Championships are the biannual championships for athletic events held under  the auspices of World Masters Athletics, formerly called the World Association of Veteran Athletes, for athletes who are over 35 years old or older.

The outdoor championships began in Toronto, Canada on August 11, 1975 and have continued in odd numbered years.  Later Road Racing Championships called Non-Stadia Championships were added,  starting in Birmingham, England August 29–30, 1992. Indoor Championships in  even numbered years were first started in Sindelfingen, Germany, March 10–14,  2004.


In the evening of July 5, 2011 an international track and field event will commence in Sacramento, California. Some 4,800 Masters athletes
from 93 nations will converge on Sacramento  State University for opening ceremonies and the march of nations. This event is the 19th World
Masters Athletics (WMA) Outdoor Championships to be held since that first outdoor one was held inToronto,Canada.

These games have only been held in the United States twice before, 16 years ago in Buffalo, New York in 1995, and 22 years ago in Eugene, Oregon in 1989. In 2013 the 20th WMA Outdoor Championships will be held in Brazil.


I have the great honor of being part of Team USA for the World Masters Athletics Championships. I haven’t been participating in Master’s Track and Field for very long. At the beginning of 2010, at the age of 66, I decided to become a member of USA T&F and the National Senior Games Association. Having been a “couch potato” for many years this wasn’t easy trying to get back into shape after a near lifetime sedentary lifestyle. My events in 2010 were the shot put and the softball throw for distance. Where the shot put was concerned I thought maybe I might do very well. As a senior in high school I had put (12 lb.) the shot 46’-2” and took a Bronze Medal in a countywide high school track meet back in 1961. But the gap between high school and 49 years later is a big one. At the 2010 USA T&F National Championships last  July I took a 6th place in the shot put just slightly less than half the distance I did my senior year of high school. At that meet a fellow athlete friend of mine suggested that I ought to try other field events. So, I subsequently acquired the age-appropriate field equipment for the Hammer Throw, Discus, Weight Throw, and Javelin.

I competed in three meets in 2010 (Manteca Senior Games, 3rd Annual Masters Western States International Invitational at UC Davis, and 2010 USA T&F Masters National Championships held at Sacramento State University) and, so far in 2011, three more meets (California State Championships at Stanford University, 2011 Pacific Association Masters Championships, and the 4th
Annual Masters Western States International Invitational).

For my effort the last year and a half I’ve garnered 9 medals overall—3 Gold Medals, 4 Silver Medals, and 2 Bronze Medals and a number of Fourth through Seventh place finishes in particular events.

The most important part of athletic participation isn’t the medals, or places earned, in an athletic event. It is the psychological benefit of continual motivation to exercise, train, and maintain a very healthy lifestyle. If an old guy like me (age 68) can get out of his easy chair and start exercising guess what—you can too. I’m a kidney cancer survivor of 7 years and have been a Type II diabetic for 20 years. If I can do it you know you can. Who knows! Maybe you’ll really enjoy the experience. GET OUT THERE NOW AND MOVE THAT BODY!


I’m looking forward to these games and plan on having my spouse, children (who are all adults) and extended family members and close
friends all attend opening ceremonies. For me personally it is all a little intimidating competing against former Olympians and world class athletes, many
of whom hold their nation’s highest records and some who have the distinction of being world record holders. It may have been 20, 30, or even 40 + years since
these guys and gals have been Olympic athletes. All of us lose, each decade, a little more muscle mass, speed, and endurance as the years go by. But I can
assure you of one thing—former Olympians and world class athletes now in their 60s, 70s or even older haven’t lost much.

The reasons for this are many including staying active in their sports and events, leading a healthy lifestyle, and possessing a very positive attitude toward life.  Members of Team USA have all competed in local, regional, and national USA T&F or National Senior Games Association sanctioned meets. However, the world games are the pinnacle of athletic achievement. I personally think Team USA will make a very strong showing in these games. Now I’d like to share with you some of the details from the upcoming world games.


Of the 4,804 registered athletes, 1,915 are from the United States (40%), Canada has the second-largest group of entrants with (215), followed by Germany with (212), India (210), Mexico (194) Great Britain and Northern Ireland (185), Australia (164), France (125), and Italy (101). Eleven of the 93 countries represented in Sacramento have one entrant apiece, including Senegal, Belize, Fiji, Liberia, Paraguay and U.S. Virgin Islands.


The following information was obtained in a WMA Press Release by Bob Burns, Media Contact for Sacramento Sports.

There will be no admission charge for spectators.

In nine days of competition – July 10 and 14 are rest days – 937 age-group events will be held at six separate venues. The local organizing
committee implemented a “split day schedule” to minimize the potential impact of high afternoon temperatures. Each morning session will begin at approximately 9 a.m. and continue to 2 p.m. The evening schedule is 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

More than 80 percent of the 2011 WMA events will be held at Hornet Stadium on the Sacramento State campus. Hornet Stadium served as the site for the 2000 and 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials as well as four NCAA Division I Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships.

Sacramento City College’s Hughes Stadium and American
River College’s Beaver Stadium will serve the secondary venues for the 2011 WMA Championships. Hughes Stadium has hosted three U.S.
championships, and Beaver Stadium hosted numerous Golden West Invitational high school meets.

Granite Regional Park is the site of the cross country races on July 6 and July 7. The marathon will be held July 17 on the American River Parkway. The road race walking events will be held in Land Park on July 12 and July 16. A complete schedule of events is posted online at http://www.wma2011.com.

Some of the most decorated athletes in masters track and field  will participate, including Phil Raschker, a 64-year-old from Marietta, Ga., a two-time finalist for the Sullivan Award who has won 68 gold medals in WMA championship competition since 1983; Irene Obera, a 77-year-old sprinter from Fremont, Ca., the winner of dozens of national and world titles, including the women’s 75-79 100 and 200 meters at last summer’s USA Masters Outdoor Championships in Sacramento; and Olga Kotenko, a 92-year-old marvel from British Columbia who holds every world record in her age class.

Olympians who have entered next mnth’s WMA event include:

• South Africa’s Zola Pieterse (nee Budd), the teenage prodigy who set several world records and was involved in the infamous tripping incident with Mary Decker Slaney at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Pieterse will compete in women’s cross country in Sacramento.

• Willie Banks, the former world record holder in the men’s triple jump and a member of three U.S.  Olympic teams;

• Jearl Clark, a two-time Olympic gold medalist and five-time Olympian who is a member of the USATF Hall of Fame;

• Duncan Macdonald, a former U.S. record holder in the 5,000 meters;

• Al Joyner, the 1984 Olympic champion in the triple jump;

• Ed Burke, a three-time Olympian who carried the U.S. flag during the opening ceremonies at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles;

• Mohinder Gill, a world-ranked triple jumper in the early 1970s from India
who competed collegiately for Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; and

• Hans Lagerqvist, a Swede who was one of the world’s top pole vaulters in the 1970s.

Top Sacramento-area entrants include:

• Liz Palmer (Folsom), who will be one of the favorites in the
W50 sprints and hurdles;

• Kevin Morning (Roseville),
a former world record holder in the M45 200 meters and double gold medalist at
the 1997 and 2001 WMA Championships;

• John Mansoor (El Dorado Hills), the longtime race director of the California International Marathon who will compete in M55 distance events; and

• Rod Jett (Sacramento), a former Hiram Johnson High School and University of California hurdler who now coaches track at Jesuit High School.

More than 500 people have signed up to volunteer at the WMA Championships. The Sacramento Sports Commission is still accepting volunteer sign-ups at www.wma2011.com. Call (916) 808-2400 for more information.

More than a dozen Sacramento-area companies and
organizations are sponsoring the WMA Championships: Sutter Health, Sacramento
Airport Systems; Pepsi; Sacramento State; the City and County of Sacramento;
the Sacramento Convention & Visitors Bureau; Sacramento City College;
American River College; the Sacramento City and County park and recreation
districts; Regional Transit; Yellow Cab; and Dome Printing.


Every day when we turn on the TV news we are all painfully aware that the world is filled with troubles of all kinds. We all want more “random acts of kindness” but what we observe is all too often something quite different.

It is hoped that the World Masters Athletics games will serve an important function beyond sports and sporting competition. These biannual track and field meets bring together a few thousand people for a short time from all corners of the globe. It is a rare opportunity to share with fellow citizens of this world a common interest in track and field sports. And, I think we’re doing this quite well in an atmosphere of understanding, friendship and camaraderie.



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