The World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships commence on Sunday 24 March in Torun, Poland. Australia has a strong team of 67 athletes (42 men, 25 women) competing across 5 year age groups from 35-39 years through to 90-94 years in events ranging from the 60m through to half marathon, cross country, road walks, jumps and throws.
This year, the host nation Poland has the largest team with 870 athletes while Australia is the 13th largest team with 67 athletes. There are over 4,300 athletes entered making the championships the largest ever World Masters Indoors.
The championships have been every 2 years since 2004 and this is the first time in Poland. Australia has been represented at each championship and at the last world indoors in South Korea, Australia topped the medal tally with 124 (59 gold) medals.
Strong medal chances this year include:
Sprinters Adam Farlow (M35, ACT) and Ashley McMahon (M40, NSW) have had a strong domestic season each breaking the Australian 60m record in their age groups, while McMahon continues to prove that age is just a number breaking the 11 second barrier in the 100m for the 14th season out of the last 16 years.
Also with a solid preparation is Andrew Wilcox (M50, VIC) with a stand out win in the Victorian Athletic League Maribyrnong 300m Open. Wilcox won bronze in his pet event the 400m in Malaga last year as well as anchoring the M45 4x400m team to gold. Back in 1992, Wilcox withdrew from the 4x400m squad for Barcelona just days out from the competition with a ruptured Achilles. His longevity at masters level is a testament to his perseverance and love of running.
Heather Carr (W65, VIC) – holds the world indoor record for the 3000m walk and will contest this event along with the 10km road walk. Heather has dominated these events at the world indoor championships since 2010.
Mary Thomas (W70, NSW) – will contest all the throwing events. In Malaga last year she finished in the top 8 across five events and since then has had a hip replacement to bring her bionic tally to two knees and two hips. She hasn’t missed a season of athletics in 60 years – her motto “Never let anything slow you down or hold you back”.
The Championships get underway with the Opening Ceremony on Saturday evening 23 March and Wilma Perkins (QLD) will be the Australian Flag Bearer. Wilma has competed at 5 World Indoor Championships and 15 World Championships amassing over 100 medals in events ranging from 60m to pole vault to pentathlon and relays. She has also given freely of her time for over 20 years in administrative roles.
Wilma’s response when asked to carry the flag, “Having spent years on the administration side of masters athletics and being involved with selecting/approving others to carry the flag it had not crossed my mind that I would be a candidate. Thus I feel very honoured to have been selected for this responsibility in Torun. I will walk with pride and emotion leading the Aussie team at the Opening Ceremony.”
Some interesting facts about the Australian Team. There are 4 family combinations involved in the team:
- Lynne & Bob Schickert (WA) competing in their 4th World Indoor Championships. Lynne is also President of Oceania Masters and on the WMA Executive Council while Bob is Secretary of Oceania Masters.
- Heather and Bill Carr (VIC) competing in their 5th World Indoor Championships. Heather competes in the walks (see above) and Bill in the sprints.
- Joan and Darren Purcell (NSW) are a mother / son duo and they will compete in the walks.
- Brothers Paul and Phil Hniat (TAS) are competing in 8 events between them. Both are in the cross country while Paul has added the 10km road race and half marathon while Phil has the 1500m, 3000m, Pentathlon and half marathon on his agenda.
Amongst the men, the youngest competitor is Adam Farlow (M35, ACT) in the 60m, 200m and 400m whilst the oldest competitor is Jim Sinclair (M90, VIC) also in the three sprint events.
The youngest of the women is Sarah Carthew (W35, SA) who is competing in the 60m hurdles and the pentathlon.
Three athletes are entered in six events each – Lenore Lambert (W45, NSW) has the toughest program with multiple rounds likely in her four track events - 60m, 200m, 400m and 60m hurdles. She will back up in the Long Jump and High Jump. Also in six events are Wayne Marriott (M60, NSW) with the same combination as Lenore and Jill Taylor (W60, NSW) who is competing in the Shot Put, Weight Throw, Discus, Hammer, Triple Jump and 60m.
Donna Hiscox (NSW) is the Team Manager. It is her 4th world championship in this role.
The World Masters Indoor Championships is held every 2 years in the odd year. After Torun, the next host city is Edmonton, Canada.