Lee County Seniors Attend World Championships
The World Masters Track and Field Championships were held in Sacramento, California, this year from July 6-17, 2011. Gayle and Peggy Berry of Northrup flew to Sacramento to be a part of this International Meet by entering the shot put and javelin events in the 65- 69 age group. Gayle competed in the shot put along with 17 other athletes from around the world. “It was an experience of a lifetime with a truly Olympic feel to it,” said Gayle. The competition was World Class with an athlete from the Czech Republic taking first place in shot put and Gayle coming in 13th. Peggy had 16 throwers to compete against in the javelin and finished 12th overall. “Competing against and meeting athletes from other countries was very exciting. It has been 15 years since the United States hosted the Championships, and we felt that this would be a good opportunity to participate and represent the USA,” reported Peggy. Several former Olympians were in attendance this year. Among them Gary Stenlund in the javelin, Zola Budd in the distance runs, Willie Banks in the triple jump, and Willie Gualt in the high hurdles. The World Championships are held every two years, and the 2013 event will be in Brazil.
The World Championships are sponsored by the World Masters Athletes organization and are held to encourage participation for men and women from ages 35 to 100+. The first event was held in Toronto, Canada, in 1975. This year 4,800 athletes from 93 countries gathered at Sacramento State University to compete against each other in 937 agegroup events. The participants are grouped in 5 year increments: 35-39, 40-44, etc. and compete with the appropriate age group in the throwing and running events.