Athletes still enthusiastic

By Jared Smith

Whanganui's Ross McBeth, on left in black, crosses the line to win his 100m sprint race at Cooks Gardens on Saturday.
Whanganui's Ross McBeth, on left in black, crosses the line to win his 100m sprint race at Cooks Gardens on Saturday.

The athletics programme had an answer to concerns that the 2017 NZ Masters Games was losing some its lustre for locals and guests alike at a busy Cooks Gardens on Saturday.

The nine event schedule over multiple age grades had attracted around 119 athletes or more, which was near equal to 2015, for over six hours of jumping, throwing, sprinting and jogging across the stadium grounds.

Having dashed across the 100m finishline first among a field of seven runners between 60-84 years old, the 70-year-old Ross McBeth, a previous gold medallist in Whanganui's NZMG, was showing no signs of lack of enthusiasm.

The 70-year-old was also entering the 60m, 200m, long jump and triple jump events that day

"It's a little bit harder," he said regarding racing as a septuagenarian.

"I trained for athletics so it hasn't changed a great deal."

Fully prepared, McBeth stood out amongst the runners with his full-body suite.

"It's holding me together, sort of, I've got a knee injury under there.

"It's a compression suit, keeps the muscles from bouncing around.

"It looks quite professional, I assure you it's not."

An member of the Wanganui Tramping Club, McBeth showed birthdays do not dictate when you have to slow down - as well as his full athletics schedule he is also entering the 500m and 1000m indoor rowing events.

"I might [also] do the relay here on Thursday."

Auckland's Laini Inivale puts everything into his shotput throw.
Auckland's Laini Inivale puts everything into his shotput throw.

Another concern for organsiers was the presence of the World Masters Games in Auckland in a couple of months might have taken away several upper North Island competitors who would save their time and money for the bigger event.

But big Aucklander Laini Inivale had no such concerns, as the 50-year-old was dominating the shotput with throws well over the 13m mark.

He will also enter the World Masters in April.

"It's my first NZ Masters Games. It was just right [timing].

"If I beat 14.39m, I'll be happy with that."

So far, Inivale was having a great time at the games.

"The band yesterday [Friday] was fantastic at the square, I really enjoyed the jazz guys."

Another to be having a great day at Cooks Gardens was Palmerston North's Brayden Grant, as the 31-year-old broke the NZMG record for his age group in the 200m with a 50.62s dash, while also cleaning up in the 100m.

Auckland's Viviene Parry-Cooke, left, is first over the line amongst the women's 100m sprinters.
Auckland's Viviene Parry-Cooke, left, is first over the line amongst the women's 100m sprinters.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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