Seniors in shape
Sat, April 21, 2012 - 12:05 AM
Victor Young is no ordinary septuagenarian. He walks briskly, his chest characteristically puffed up, and is as fleet-footed as many men half his age.
Young, one of Barbados’ more popular senior athletes, will join other outstanding regulars like Pearl Yearwood and Henderson Waltress among the record 289 senior athletes who will take to the track and field today from 9 a.m. for the 11th staging of the National Senior Games at the National Stadium.
The popularity and intensity of the Games were borne out at Weymouth Playing Field on Thursday when in spite of overcast conditions some competitors got in last-minute fine-tuning to ensure that they would continue to wrap themselves in national sporting glory today.
The consummate crowd entertainer, Young, who has taken part in all ten editions of the Games, will be moving up to the 70-74 age group, intending to bring the same gusto and strut that have gained him such popularity over the years.
“I am as fit as ever and I hope to put on a good show for my fans,” he said while getting in some stretches.
He was eager not only to work out but to hand support to 60-64 darling Yearwood, who has been competing locally and at the World Huntsman Games in Utah for ten years.
Yearwood was more modest in asking that she and her fellow competitors be blessed with a great day of competition and continued friendship.
Also getting in a final session at Weymouth were Waltress, who has dominated the 50-55 section for the past four years as well as nine-year competitor Mark Maynard, 60-64, and Patrick Bourne who has controlled the invitational 45-49 group for three years.
With nearly 60 more athletes than last year’s 231 registered to compete this year, long-serving coordinator Rawle Clarke suggested that this year the 300-mark might have been surpassed if the entries had not been cut off at March 26.
“Over the years we have seen more elderly people paying more attention to physical activity to add more life to their added years, and our staunch competitors continue to train all year for these games,” stated Clarke.
He said this year 89 first-timers would be taking part in the track events as well as in the throws, including the cricket ball throw, high jump, long jump, standing broad jump and the tug of war.
“Except for 2006 when we experienced a dip, the games have continued to grow in popularity for the competitors and the spectators,” said Clarke.
“All of the tickets have been sold out for the VIP Stand, and only tickets for the other stands remain,” added the former Olympian.
In keeping with the healthy living focus of the Games, free blood testing and cholesterol checks will be available to people in attendance, and officials from the Diabetes Association of Barbados will be on hand to offer free advice. A jumping tent will also be in place for children. (KB)
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