Centenarians, a prince, Santa compete at World Masters Games

Fri Oct 16, 2009 3:02am EDT
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By Belinda Goldsmith

SYDNEY (Reuters Life!) - The World Masters Games end in Sydney this weekend having shown age is no obstacle to enjoying sport with a 100-year-old female shot put champion, a 101-year-old lawn bowler, a prince and Santa Claus taking part.

Over 28,000 participants from 95 countries, aged 25 to 101, converged on Sydney for the seventh World Masters Games motivated by the sheer fun of competing in the world's largest multi-sports event that is twice as large as the Olympics and held every four years.

The death of an Argentinian man aged in his late 40s of an apparent heart attack while taking part in a 21 km (13 mile) canoe marathon was the only incident to dampen the otherwise high spirits at Sydney Olympic Park, home of the 2000 Summer Olympics.

"I have loved taking part. I love team sports at the best of times and this is an opportunity to be part of a team in an international event for the first time in my life at the ripe old age of 47," said Sydneysider Vicki Shaw, who competed in the women's over 45s football.

A star of the games, which began in Toronto, Canada, in 1985, was 100-year-old Ruth Frith, a great-grandmother from Brisbane on Australia's east coast.

She broke the world record in the over 100s age group for the shot put, and also took home three other gold medals.

Frith put her fitness and longevity down to training five days a week and not drinking, smoking or eating vegetables. She said she was also the only female in the over 100 section.

"As long as I didn't foul I was going to win it," she told Reuters Television.   Continued...

<p>Dorothy De Low, 99, from Australia participates in table tennis practice at the World Masters Games at Sydney Olympic Park October 15, 2009. REUTERS/World Masters Games/Craig Golding/Handout</p>