The 47th edition of the National Masters Athletics Championships is being held in Melbourne from 26-29 April at Lakeside Stadium, Albert Park. A record 959 athletes have entered the competition and with each athlete having taking on average 3.5 events - that’s a colossal 3,380 individual entries over the four day program.
Rob Mayston, Chairman of the Local Organising Committee says, “Excitement is running high in the ranks of Australian Masters Athletes as the countdown is now well and truly on to the ‘Melbourne 2019’ National Championship.” He went onto say “Athletes from all states and territories will take part, as well as 49 entrants from Overseas competing by invitation.
Athletes compete in 5 year age groups from 30-34 years through to 90-94 years in events ranging from the 60m through to 10,000m, cross country, road walks, jumps and throws.
At 94 years of age, the oldest competitor is Jim Sinclair from Victoria. He is contesting the four sprint events and has just returned from the World Indoor Championships where he won the bronze medal in the M90 60m sprint. The youngest competitor is 31 year old, Krystal Kunig of Victoria who is contesting the Discus, Hammer, Shot Put and Throws Pentathlon.
The host state Victoria, as expected, has the largest team with 462 athletes while neighbouring NSW has the second largest team of 162 athletes.
The majority of competitors in the men’s events come from the M45, M50, M55 and M60 age groups while for the women events the most popular age groups are W40, W50 and W55.
The most popular event is the blue ribbon 100m with a 265 athletes expected to start on the first day of competition.
Athletes to look out for are:
Mary Thomas, NSW, W70 – aiming for a 40th National Javelin title having never been beaten in this event at National Masters Championships.
Andrew Wilcox, VIC, M50 – current World Indoor 400m Champion is aiming for the 400m world record in the M50 age group.
Julie Brims, QLD, W50 – current World Champion in the 100m and 200m has entered all the sprint events plus the long jump and high jump.
Ashley McMahon, NSW, M40 – has broken the 11 second barrier in the 100m in 14 out of the last 16 seasons. The most recent time was the NSW Open Championships in February this year. Ashley was part of the 4x200m relay team which broke the Open Australian Indoor record last month.
Lyn Ventris, WA, W60 and Heather Carr, Vic, W65 are both world record holders in walking events and are on the start lists for the 1500m and 5,000m track walks and 10km road walk events.
Melissa Foster, WA, W40 – current World Champion and Indoor World Champion in the Long Jump and National Record holder in the triple jump will be contesting both these jumps as well as the sprint events and the pentathlon.
Rob Mayston says, “A special guest at the Melbourne Championships will be Australian Olympic Legend Ralph Doubell AM. It is now 50 years ago that Ralph won Olympic Gold in the 800m in Mexico City. On Friday 26 April, he will be in attendance to witness the Masters Athletics 800m Finals and present the medals to the placegetters.”
Mr Doubell AM is also guest of at the AMA Awards Dinner on Saturday 27 April where two members will be inducted into the Australian Masters Athletics Hall of Fame.
The National Championships will be live streamed on YouTube for the first time in a move designed to help increase the exposure for masters athletics. Subscribe at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC4E6WnSCSv7fGCOp37NBq3Q
“Masters Athletics espouses all of the values of the “healthy and active lifestyle” mantra that has become so popular and relevant in this present day. It is a sport, which has a diversity of events – from running to jumping to throwing - which means that everyone can find something which suits them. It is also a sport which does not require a lot of personal equipment and which is well catered for by an established network of both metropolitan and regional Athletics Clubs”, says Rob Mayston.
Dates: 26-29 April
Venue: Lakeside Stadium, Albert Park
Photo: Melissa Foster, WA, W40 Long Jump World Indoor Champion
Acknowledgements – Janet Naylon (report), Doug ‘Shaggy’ Smith (photos)
Janet Naylon – +61 418 655 170, firstname.lastname@example.org