2022 WMA Best Athletes

This is the time we look back on 2022 and reflect on many wonderful international and national championships. The atmosphere at championships was often electric. Congratulations to all Masters Athletes for your accomplishments! It was obvious you were excited to be competing.

WMA Council agreed to have WMA Regions nominate athletes who had competed at their national, regional or WMA championships. Our nominating panel researched athletes meeting the criteria and nominated five females and five males:

Female: Somsanga Boonnok, W67; Thailand, Anne Gilshinan, W58, Ireland; Carol LaFayette-Boyd, W80, Canada; Janeth Tenorio Caicedo, W63, Columbia; and Jacqueline Wilson, W76, New Zealand;

Male: Salem Musaed Al Ahmadi, M53, Saudi Arabia; David Carr, M90, Australia; Michael Kish, M71 , United States; Esa Kiuru, M75, Finland; and José Quiñaliza, M61, Ecuador;

Congratulations to all the nominees. I am honored to introduce our 2022 Best Athletes, Carol LaFayette-Boyd and David Carr.

Best wishes to all nominees and Masters Athletes worldwide! Hope to see you in Toruń

Margit Jungman, WMA President

2022 Male Best Athlete:  David Carr, M90, Australia;

photo by Alex Rotas

Please tell us about yourself.

My wife, Patricia, who was a very good LJ and TJ athlete winning gold in the TJ at WMA championships Melbourne 1987. Pat is no longer competing but still has the state LJ & TJ records for W 65,70,75. We have three children. Therese occasionally attends and competes in MAWA events as she did at the road run of 4 K yesterday. My first career was in the navy and in my 20’s I became a secondary school teacher. When I retired, I he was vice principle of a senior secondary school in Perth.

One cannot achieve much without friends, family, clubmates, officials and helpers. Our family was involved with Little Athletics. My daughter, Therese, was the fourth woman in WA to complete a marathon (People’s Marathon 1979 – 3h:33m) and daughter, Peta, won the City to Surf (1975). Patricia upstaged me in Melbourne (1987), with gold and a World record in the W55 triple jump. They all understand the joys and grind of the sport. MAWA has always provided the structure, organisation, venues, events and competitions for athletes of all disciplines.

What was your most memorable or noteworthy masters athletics accomplishment in 2022?

Five Gold medals in Tampere. 400 to 5000 including steeple.

Six world records in the M 90 division.

MAWA has Thursday evening track and field events and qualified Athletics WA officials have been in attendance to make sure things are properly done.

What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?

To set a M 90 800 m record. A favoured event but I do not have this record.

Great battles with Earl Fee in WMA championships are remembered. Porto Rico 2003 was a classic.

What else would you like people reading the announcement of nominees and winners to know about you?

Coaching of younger athletes at MAWA a number of whom have set world records and been placed at WMA championships

2022 Female Best Athlete: Carol LaFayette-Boyd, W80, Canada;

photo by Doug Smith

Please tell us about yourself.

My family consists of 3 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren. My daughter Jackie passed away in 2013; my son Lester passed away in 2014 and my husband Lem passed away in 2015. I am grateful to God for “the peace that passeth all understanding” in getting me through that heartbreak.

I live in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada. I am a retired social worker, but very involved in volunteer work.

What was your most memorable or noteworthy masters athletics accomplishment in 2022?

Breaking outdoor world W80 records in 100, 200. Long Jump and Triple Jump and recently indoor records in Long Jump and 60m

What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?

I would like to better my times in all events.

What else would you like people reading the announcement of nominees and winners to know about you?

I am my family of 89 (siblings and children) genealogist and hope to write a book someday. I do have lots of time to do that as I am following in the footsteps of the W104 plus women – Man, Julia and Ida and so should be competing for at least another 26 years.

2022 Male Best Athlete nominee: Salem Musaed Al Ahmadi, M53, Saudi Arabia;

photo by Ahed Haji Mohammed

Please tell us about yourself.

First of all, I would like to thank you for the nomination.

As for information about me, I am Salem Al-Ahmadi, a Saudi national. I have five children (a boy and four girls), and I live in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the city of Jeddah.

I am currently working as the head of the Saudi Masters Sports Committee.

What was your most memorable or noteworthy masters athletics accomplishment in 2022?

My most important and unforgettable sporting achievement is when I won the gold medal in the triple jump in the Asian Games, which is considered the first Saudi achievement, as well as achieving two gold medals in the triple jump and long jump at the World championship Masters Athletics in Finland 2022.

What else would you like people reading the announcement of nominees and winners to know about you?

What I would like others to know about me is that I am still a simple person. The many achievements have not changed me. I still love helping others and bringing joy to the hearts of my loved ones with disabilities. I am a permanent volunteer at their service.

2022 Female Best Athlete nominee: Somsanga Boonnok, W67, Thailand;

Please tell us about yourself.

Am, Mrs. Somsanga Boonnok married to late husband Mr. Suvicha who passed away in 2018. Nowadays, Am living alone in northeastern Thailand. Our son, two daughters and eight grand children are away with their respective family. We are retired government middle school science teachers and presently Am a pensioner. A promoter of Staying in good health with running.

What was your most memorable or noteworthy masters athletics accomplishment in 2022?

At WMA Championship Tampere 22, entered 5 W65-69 events; High, Long, and Triple jumps, 100m and 80m Short Hurdle. Have always enjoyed participating in all 5 above events. Although I did achieved a Gold & 2 Silvers, in my first ever WMA World Athletics Championships competition. Plus my best PB of 3.9m win in Long Jump. But my most noteworthy WMA 2022 accomplishment event, has to be 80m Short hurdle. Simply because to reach the finish line, all competitors needs to be in their top physical shape and a clear mental condition in order to tackle each & every hurdle.

What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?

At WMACI Torun 2023: Simply looking forward to participates, again a first timer in Indoor. God willing and still hope to make the trip. The main obstacles are present Russian aggression escalation into Ukraine, the cold Poland wintry and Covid-19 situations.

What else would you like people reading the announcement of nominees and winners to know about you?

Acknowledgement: and words of appreciation to Rotary Club of Bangkok Klongtoey for sponsoring the Thai WMA Team. Without their Imagine and out of the box contribution. We, Thailand would never achieved 2 Gold and 4 Silver medals. Let alone competes for the first time ever, at a WMA World Athletics Championships. Last but not least, our whole hearted thank and congratulating WMA President, it board members. Together with Finnish government, WMA board, conducting memorable & enjoyable Tampere 2022.

2022 Female Best Athlete nominee: Anne Gilshinan, W58, Ireland;

photo by Alfred Hermes

Please tell us about yourself.

I am 58 and a mother of two children, Danika and Jake, and married to Keith. I live close to a small village called Bridgetown, Co. Wexford, Ireland. Its approximately 20km from Wexford town. In Irish terms it is referred to as ‘living in the country’. My place of birth is Virgina, Co. Cavan and I grew up on a farm and moved to Wexford in 1995.

What was your most memorable or noteworthy masters athletics accomplishment in 2022?

2022 has been a very successful year in terms of sporting achievements. I started the year with a new world record in the W55 category, 1500M indoor clocking 4:43.59 in January.

In February, I travelled to Braga, Portugal, and I was successful in winning the W55 category in the 800m, 1500m, and 3000m, at the European Indoor Master Championships. I followed up that success with two gold medals at the World Championships in Tampere in the W55, 800m and the 1500m. 2022 was the first time in my masters career that I had got a gold medal at either European or World level. Back home in Ireland I was awarded the Irish Master Athlete of the Year for 2022.

What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?

In relation to 2023, I imagine that I am very similar to most Master Athletes insofar as my biggest hope is that I continue to have the fitness and health to compete at World and European level. If health and fitness are good, I would like to compete at the World Indoor Championships in Torun in March and after that I will consider the European Championships later on in the year in Italy.

What else would you like people reading the announcement of nominees and winners to know about you?

I get a great buzz competing in all these Championships, and I also get great satisfaction at meeting like minded people. I have met some wonderful people since I started to compete in my first Master event in 2016. I am part of the Irish team and there is a great sense of community and friendship at home and when we compete abroad. I have also met and made friends with different athletes from around the globe. If I was not participating in master athletics I would have missed out on these marvelous friendships.

2022 Male Best Athlete nominee: Michael Kish, M71 , United States;

photo by Doug Smith

Please tell us about yourself.

My hometown is Bloomfield, NJ also the home of the great marathon runner Tom Fleming. I currently live in Nutley, NJ with my extremely supportive and lovely wife Jean (Jeanie). Ever since starting my running again 12-13 years ago, Jeanie has never complained about me practicing or attending any of my running endeavors. She is encouraging and often points out issues to be aware of with my running at meets. Jeanie works in the federal government for HHS (Health and Human Services) as a regional director specifically with substance abuse and mental health services. I have two children Andor, my son, a middle school tech teacher and an ice hockey coach. Meredith, my daughter who owns her own PR business and a stepson David a F-16 fighter pilot. There are five grandchildren – Nolan (8), Brooks (8), Madeline (6), Elizabeth (5), and David Jr. (2). I attended Essex Catholic HS in Newark, NJ sadly no longer in existence and had teammates Marty Liquori the famous miler/long distance track runner and Mark Murro the former world age record holder throwing the javelin. I ran the 100 and 220 yd. distances. Yes, the 220 back then. On one occasion I ran the 100yd. hurdles and had no idea what I was doing and I finished standing up not tripping over one hurdle. Least to say, that was the end of my hurdling career. I was mostly a long jumper reaching 19’11’’ as a sophomore. I didn’t run track in college staying home and working my way through college at Jersey City State in NJ. majoring in special education and teaching learning disabled middle schoolers for 38 years before retiring in 2016.

What was your most memorable or noteworthy masters athletics accomplishment in 2022?

My most memorable moment in 2022 is difficult to answer because there isn’t just one, but two equally. My run at the Penn Relays this past spring was a huge surprise, because my run went viral over the internet due to FloTrack broadcasting and recording the Penn Relays and the broadcasters being amazed that my time was faster than the 65 years old runners with a slow time of 13.47. Initially, I had no idea that our race was being broadcast or recorded until I was home eating dinner and a teammate of mine sent me an email indicating that my race was on Facebook put up by FloTrack. Due to the FloTrack broadcast he indicated that “being showcased by Flotrack on Social Media is better than being on a Wheaties box!” When the video went viral over YouTube along with over 1.2 million views and over 1,900 comments with many hilarious ones this event is/was paramount among my athletic endeavors in life at that time. The attention I have received due to this video (interviews, articles written, and fellow track friends congrats) is beyond any endeavor I have done. Remember what I wrote above, I never was All State. St. The second equally noteworthy moment for me took place at the World Masters Championships when I ran a 12.66 in the 100m final which is the fastest 70M 100m all time though not official due to wind. Running that 100m final my only concern was to win and run as fast I could to accomplish that win. When I glanced at the time of 12.66 I thought it was a misprint and didn’t initially react to it other then knowing the time was faster than the world record. I really didn’t know how to respond or react, until it was announced that it was a possible world record and my competitors from different parts of the globe came over and shook my hand and congratulated me. In retrospect, shaking those hands was the second best part of the race knowing how appreciative they were of my run.

What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?

My health is most important for me this coming year and for years to come. Without my health I will not be able run or compete at any level and have a favorable quality of life. With optimal health I’ll be able to run my best and enjoy the outcomes of the hard work put into my training. After all my training, my body will determine the outcome of each race regardless of my times and achievements. This coming year will present new challenges to face and overcome, such as runners moving up from the 65M group challenging me to run my best, being a year older can I keep my times equal or better than last years achievements, and continuing the running friendships I’ve develop over the years.

What else would you like people reading the announcement of nominees and winners to know about you?

Lastly, people should know how thankful and appreciative I am for all my achievements and the people who helped me along the way. All of my success is beyond my comprehension at times, but fun. My goals are to run my best and allow my body to determine the results. Wins, records, and awards are gratifying in the end, but not my sole goals. I had some knowledge about the USATF Masters awards and the World awards, but they were never my goals to achieve. I run for the competition and the overall fun and to stay connected with fellow runners sharing stories, achievements, and health running tips. I’m always open to learn new training tips and adjust my training as needed and to share some of what I have learned and is successful with me with fellow runners.

2022 Male Best Athlete nominee: Esa Kiuru, M75, Finland;

photo by Aarto-Nevala

Please tell us about yourself.

I am married for forty years and have three children five grandchildren. I live in a small village called Hartola and we had a sport shop selling mainly skiis allover the country and got so our living for over thirty years. Javelling I started at the age of 23 , and my best result I got at the age of 38 with 800 g result 77.58 . My first WM I got 1987 in Melbourne and now in Tampere this was my 10th world championship! I’ve also several European championships , I’m only ” A javelling man” and got in fifty decates masterships in every mastership competition I’ve been at. This time I’ve four WR M-60, 65, 70 and 75. At Tre I was intended to make a new WR ( during summer-22 I threw better and better WR result every time) but I was too eager to stretch getting injury in my back hamstring. So my best was the hole summer with five times throwing WR result. Next summer I’ll compete in Pescara in Italy European championship competition.

2022 Male Best Athlete nominee: José Quiñaliza, M61, Ecuador;

Please tell us about yourself.

I live here in Atlanta GA USA the last past 15 years. I’m divorced I don’t have family no children, I’m Physical Education Teacher and Track and Field Coach here in Atlanta Public school high school students.

What was your most memorable or noteworthy masters athletics accomplishment in 2022?

In the Masters I have 4 Gold Medals and 3 Silver in Triple Jump. This year In the World Masters Champion in Tampere Finland in Triple Jump and here Atlanta Georgia Games.

What else would you like people reading the announcement of nominees and winners to know about you?

I competed in the 1988 Olympics Games in Korea. I participated many International meetings.

2022 Female Best Athlete nominee: Janeth Tenorio Caicedo, W63, Columbia;

 

Please tell us about yourself.

I am currently single, I live in Cali Colombia, I have 3 children, 1 grandson and I am retired

What was your most memorable or noteworthy masters athletics accomplishment in 2022?

My most memorable and most notable athletic achievement of 2022 was 3rd place in Discus throw and 3rd place in Shot put at the World Masters Athletics Tampere which was held from 29 June – July 10,2022, because the worlds are events with a higher scope in which the level of competition is very high and being able to get on the podium in this World Cup after so long without being able to participate in a World Cup due to the pandemic was a truly indescribable feeling

What are you most looking forward to in the coming year?

I am preparing to participate in the 2 national events that will be held in Colombia, in the South American event in Lima, Peru, and I am also waiting for the publication of next year’s international athletics events to assess which one I will have the option of attending.

What else would you like people reading the announcement of nominees and winners to know about you?

For me it is an honor to receive this nomination because I feel that it is the fruit of the effort, discipline, love, and dedication of 50 years dedicated to sport.

2022 Female Best Athlete nominee: Jacqueline Wilson, W76, New Zealand;

photo by R D Wilson

Please tell us about yourself.

I was born in Lincolnshire, UK in January 1946 but moved to Harrogate, Yorkshire when I was 4. I have been married to my husband, Douglas, for 54 years. We moved to New Zealand in 2007 when we took early retirement to be close to our two daughters and four grandchildren. I was a Store Manager for WH Smith, a book and stationary retailer in Beverley & Hull. I played a lot of sport over the years in the UK, Netball, Table Tennis and Hockey, (I achieved selection to play at County level for Hampshire), but I was only introduced to Race Walking in New Zealand. A late starter at 65 years of age!

I plan my training around competitions held both here and abroad and try not to miss out on International events when I can. This has been difficult in these times of Covid with the borders closed. Early in 2021, I managed to break both the 3000m and 5000m Track Walk World records at the NZMA Championships, Inglewood. New Zealand just before a Covid lockdown.

The prospect of International travel during a time of an epidemic was quite daunting. The long and arduous 32 hr travel time (4 flights and 5 airports) whilst wearing a mask, was not something to relish. The conflict with Ukraine & Russia was also of concern. However we took the decision and travelled to Finland in July, which turned out to be the most memorable achievement in 2022 at the WMA Championships in Tampere, Finland. I entered three W75 Race Walking events, 5,000m Track Walk, 10k & 20k Road Walks. I won three Gold Medals and a World Record in the 20k Road Walk in a time of 2:25.37 (prev. rec 2:30.30) which were NZMA & Wellington Records also.

Finland was experiencing a heat wave when we were competing which was unusual, so the first two events I competed in were slower than I expected. However on the 20Km road walk the weather changed quite suddenly with torrential rain hitting the race around the 10km point. The rain started again in earnest with two laps to go, encouraging me to pick up my pace. Although I knew I had posted a good time, it wasn’t until later that I realized that I had broken the record by such a margin, taking the record, ironically from a woman from Finland set in Malaga in 2018. It was another wonderful experience at the WMA Championships and I am grateful to Tampere, Finland and their sponsors for making it possible at such a difficult time globally.

Other achievements in 2022:
4th Sept – NZ Athletic Championships (Nationals) 10k Road Champs Female W75 – Gold medal.
25th Sept – Wellington Road Champs, Wellington, 10K Road Walk 1st Woman 1:09.50
2-4th Dec – NZMA Champs, Newtown Park, Wellington – 3 Golds W75 3,000m, 1500m, 5,000m

NZMA Female Walker of the Year 2022: This honour was due to the World Records achieved in 2021 3,000m and 5,000m Track Walks at the NZMA Championships, Inglewood, NZ Feb 2021.

In NZ there are very few opportunities to compete in a Masters 20K Road Walks. I would like to maintain fitness at this distance, so I plan to do some half marathon walks during 2023, e.g. Melbourne Marathon. I enjoy competing at indoor competitions so look forward to the WMA Indoor Champs in Torun, Poland. Love Torun following our visit in 2019, a wonderful place to visit and the stadium was amazing.

Race Walking has opened so many doors for me as a Golden Oldie, not only the joy of competing locally, Oceania & WMA, but travelling the World and making new friends. I have done several Marathons as a Walker, my highlight being the London Marathon for my 70th birthday – 2016. An amazing experience walking up the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace (didn’t get the regal wave!) and with great support from my four sisters and families. They were all at the finish line to help me celebrate my time 5:21.46. Prior to competing at the WMA Champs, Malaga, Spain in 2018 I travelled via the UK to visit family & raced at the BMA Championships in Birmingham, W70-74 3,000m & 5,000m Track Walks. Besides winning my age group I broke the UK Record for the 3,000m but due to me not being a member of a British Club could not take the honours.

My determination to succeed by training hard and listening to my body plus the support from my husband has helped me achieve my goals.