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Very few people are aware of Masters Athletics and those who are aware might think that it is only for top athletes. They are wrong, as Masters Athletics is for any person over the age of 30 years qualifies to compete in masters athletics.
“Why Masters Athletics?” one would ask. The answer is quite simple and the benefits multiple:
1. To keep fit. If a person exercise, but you do not compete in a sport, you cannot monitor your progress efficiently.
2. There is a voice inside of you that keeps reminding you that you want to be part of the best. Now you have the opportunity.
3. At Masters Athletics, you do not have to qualify to compete in the National Championships! Wow – you always wanted to compete in South African championships! As a matter of fact – you don’t even have to qualify to get to world championships!
4. It’s a huge motivation for your children and grandchildren. I can assure you this from experience with my own grandchildren.
At Masters Athletics an athlete competes against his own personal best standards. It is not about the position achieved, but about continuously improving your own personal best performance. It prevents you from becoming a couch potato and it improves health in general.
Have you ever watched sporting events on television? You will start recognising the one quality that all sport men and women possess: Positive attitude. In a number of surveys done it is proved that a fit body houses a healthy mind.
Masters Athletics in South Africa Athletics in South Africa was previously known as Veterans Athletics for men and women of 30 plus and has existed in South Africa since 1974 when the then S.A. Masters Athletic Association was founded by Danie Burger, ex-Springbok pole-vaulter, hurdler and decathlete, after a sojourn in the U.S.A. He was a physiotherapist / chiropractor who had studied and worked in the United States in the early 70's. At this time David Pain, an American Lawyer, organised a mile race for men of 40 plus, called masters.
This concept caught on and in 1975 the first championships for veterans (or masters) took place in Toronto, Canada. South Africa was represented by 14 or 15 athletes and included well-known Springboks such as Burger himself, Fanie du Plessis (discus thrower), Anne McKenzie (800m, 1500m) and Willie Olivier (800m, 1500m, steeplechase) and Monty Hacker (100 & 200), previously secretary-general, vice-president and acting President of World Masters Athletics (WMA). Since then world track and field masters championships have taken place every second year and include 8km cross country, half marathon, marathon, 10k & 20k road walk for men and women.
Track and Field events for masters consist of all the usual Olympic track and field events. Women also participate in such events as steeplechase and pole vault. To accommodate advancing age, implements of lighter weights are used from certain ages and the heights of hurdles are lowered. This is one sport where the participants look forward to advancing age !
The inaugural S.A. Masters Cross Country Championships was held in Bloemfontein in 2001 in conjunction with the S.A. Interprovincial Cross Country Championships. At this stage Masters Cross Country events are no longer held as stand-alone events, but under the auspices of the senior provincial and ASA bodies.
Masters athletics is open to all masters athletes (35+ men and women internationally). However, provision is made for sub-masters from age 30+ for men and women to compete in all provincial, national and regional championships. Masters athletics is organised and adjudicated in five-year age categories, eg. 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, right up to 90's plus!
So: This is your chance to get your sporting dream fulfilled. You too can become the athlete, whether track, field or road is preferred, that you always dreamed of. If you would like more information on how to join or to meet with a member in person, please feel free to contact the secretary of the Central Gauteng Masters Athletics Association: Pam Immelman at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The same fees apply as for road runners: An annual Athletics South Africa fees (this is for your permanent number) and your annual club fees. When considering which club to join, take the following into consideration:
- Facilities available to practice/exercise.
- Location of the club: It is better to join a club where other masters athletes have joined in order to get the valuable support from fellow athletes.
Now: Don’t let your dreams just stay dreams. You too can achieve your national colours in any track or field sporting event that you love! ..............and while you are getting ready: how about challenging your friends and family to do the same?
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