Seniors dig deep
Ninety-five-year-old Collie Lovell was the one to demonstrate age was nothing but a number when she completed two races at the 17th annual National Senior Games at the National Stadium on Monday.
The oldest woman in the well-anticipated event’s running technique in the 50 and 100 metres was more of a gingerly walk to the finish line but it was one which allowed her to capture the hearts of the spectators throughout the Stadium.
Darling of the games and former schoolteacher for 42 years, Shirley Harper of Seven Seas Freedom Striders, once again showed her worth when she not only captured gold medals in four events but smashed two records during the meet.
The 70-year-old who started competing for fun in 2005 registered new times in the 50 metres finishing in 8.26 seconds and the 200 metres in 32.66 seconds. She also won the 100 metres in 15.67 seconds and the standing broad jump with a leap of 1.88 metres.
“The training really helps me with my health because I don’t have any non-communicable diseases. Every time I’m finished training I feel so energetic. God has given us beautiful bodies and we have to treasure them,” she said.
Angela Jackson, also of Freedom Striders, has always been into track and field and the business studies teacher at the Graydon Sealy Secondary School won four events – 400 metres 1:24.16, weight throw with 28.89 metres and succeeded at record throws in the shot put with 10.06 metres and javelin in 19.58 metres.
Most importantly she said she competed to better her health and motivate her students.
“When I take part in this type of activity it keeps me healthy. I recently went to the doctor and my blood pressure is good. I also want my students to look at me and see that they can do what I do as well,” she said.
Steffean Walcott of Freedom Striders was in good form and came down the stretch like a bullet in all her events. In the 45 to 49 age group, she crossed the finish line first, winning the 200 metres in 29.28 seconds, the 400 metres in one minute 8.45 seconds, and the 800 and 1500 metres events in record times of 2:44.44 minutes and 5:59.03 minutes respectively.
Sixty-seven-year-old Pearl Yearwood of Barbados Masters and Seniors Athletic Club (BAMSAC), also lived up to her capabilities, coming away the champion in the 65-69 division with wins in the 50 metres in 8.47 seconds, 100 metres in record time of 15.85 metres, 200 in 33.79 metres and standing broad jump with a leap of 1.69 metres.
Fifty-nine-year-old Jenifer Swanston-Jones achieved a record leap of 2.14 metres in the standing broad jump and the long jump with 3.60 metres.
It was a steady battle between Barney Braithwaite of BAMSAC, 83, and Victor Young, 80, throughout the day but Brathwaite managed to defeat his opponent who competed unattached in three events.
Brathwaite who was always a lover of sports, won the 50 metres and 100 metres in record times of 8.84 and 16.84 seconds.
Brathwaite also ran a record time in the 100 metres in 16.84 seconds ahead of Young, who ran under the time once in 16.85 seconds. He also crossed the finish line first in the 200 metres in 35.60 seconds while Young finished in 35.63 seconds.
“When I was 22, I won 100 and 200. When I returned from England, I joined BAMSAC and realised I still loved it. Exercise is the key to health,” Brathwaite said.
Charles Walcott also made his mark when he won four field events and smashed one record in the process. Competing unattached, he erased the former time of 12.94 metres in the shot put when he threw 14.53 metres. He also won the javelin, throwing 32.08 metres; discus with 28.03 metres; and the standing broad jump with a leap of 2.30 metres.
Henderson Waltress of the United Athletic Club rewrote times in the 60-64 men’s 800 metres and 1500 metres in 2:23.73 minutes and 5:15.58 minutes respectively. (RG)