We are pleased to share the inspiring stories of some of the athletes who will be competing in the 2017 World Masters Games (WMG) in Auckland, New Zealand from April 21-30, 2017.
CHRIS HOLLOMAN, USA
“Last year I set my sights on competing as a decathlete again, at the ripe age of 42. My goal? World Masters Games 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand – the country I dearly love and miss. But there’s a lot more than just training involved. There’s a percentage of my past that tells me ‘you’re not the guy for this type of goal-setting’ or at least seeing it through to completion. My backstory is one of poor choices including substance abuse. After almost destroying my life I got back up and scraped my way back to a place where I have opportunities that I never thought possible. My purpose is more than just shooting for a gold medal in an event I’ve loved since I was a boy. It’s about re-establishing a relationship with myself that changes my future and my relationship with those around me. I can’t wait!”
SANDY PARKINSON, CANADA
“I grew up in North Vancouver, initially in Deep Cove, surrounded by nature and steps from the salt chuck. We swam in the ocean from May to October but I wasn’t very good at it. As life unfolded, I ended up a single parent, raising a son who has autism. During those 20 years, I worked full-time while I earned my degree. Swimming was something I did for fitness, when time permitted. Three years ago, my son became quite independent and I started swimming with the Masters. I have met some amazing athletes and friends through Masters and I am inspired by their skill and determination. It must be contagious, because here I am registering for the 2017 World Masters Games.”
DEBORAH REARDON, NEW ZEALAND
“I started lifesaving when I turned 50. I passed my lifeguard award and have patrolled every summer since. I love swimming and just wanted to make sure our beautiful beach was safe for all. We have lost two young lives on our beach over the last two years. Had lifeguards been on patrol both times when these children fell into the water, we may have been able to save them. One child was never found. That’s what motivates me to keep training and keep fit because you never know when you may be needed to save a life.”
ANNA CHEAH, USA
Anna Cheah began playing street badminton in Malaysia as a young girl. She came from a small village with no indoor facilities. On moving to the U.S. to study, she brought a badminton racquet and began playing again. “I’d never been trained but just loved the game. Then about three years ago, I met Barbara Gibson at my club. She has taught me so much about the game. Barbara has sacrificed her time to train me and has never given up on me. I now know her well. She is the current silver medalist in (WS 70s) 2016 World Masters in Sweden,” says Anna. “I started learning new things in my late 40s, where old habits are hard to die. I give her all the credit for making me a better player. The lesson is never give up on life. One is never too old to learn new things. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise!”
LES THOMPSON, NEW ZEALAND
“I work hard all the time – be it at my job or at home looking after my five year old granddaughter with my lovely wife. Recently I suffered a small heart attack (stress related) and had a stent added to one of my arteries. This was my motivation to manage my heart health and be fitter than before. WMG2017 will be a great way to show my friends and family that I will be fine, and that they need to be checked as well to keep themselves healthy. I have never been considered as a sporty person, however I am competitive and love my time out mountain biking socially. This event is a great kick in the pants to achieve something unique, and get motivated with training. A medal would be a dream come true so I will aim for that, but competing and finishing is my goal.”
JULIE DAVIS, AUSTRALIA
Julie Davis from Australia will be taking part in her fourth World Masters Games when she touches down in Auckland in April. Julie, who hails from Brisbane, first competed at the World Masters Games in Melbourne in 2004 before taking on the Sydney Games in 2008 and the Torino Games in 2013. She holds the current Australian record for Clean and Jerk at 42kg and the current Queensland Snatch record at 29kg (53kg category, 60-64 years). As Secretary of the North Brisbane Weightlifting Club, Julie is a regular competitor both nationally and internationally. What’s more, as a swimmer with the Bluefins at Nudgee College Pool in Brisbane, Julie doesn’t stop at just one sport. She will be completing a double at WMG2017, competing in both weightlifting and swimming as scheduling permits.
DALE ERTEL, NEW ZEALAND
“”I had a heart attack 10 days before my 48th Birthday (I’m 61 now). While many lifestyle changes were made, keeping fit and losing weight became an issue due to a chronic lower back complaint. It was my gym instructor who suggested I take up road cycling as it appeared that cycling didn’t aggravate my back. I’m now hooked on cycling – whether it be road, off-road or track. Many people ask me why I ride. Even my two adult children think I’m crazy. Why do I do it? Quite simply ‘because I can’. The WMG2017 track cycling is being held at the Avantidrome only 35 minutes from my home in Matamata – crikey I couldn’t not do it! While competing will be a bit scary, I am very excited and truly looking forward to it.”
Visit our Events Page to get more information on the 2017 World Masters Games.
Send your stories to [email protected]