Our much-anticipated Championships commenced today. Thousands of athletes with family and friends are being welcomed by our Finnish hosts. First time participants’ eyes were wide and drinking everything in but so are those of experienced championship competitors. The atmosphere is electric clearly showing people are excited that the World Masters Athletics Championships are back! This page will be updated daily.
Day 1 – World’s Greatest Athlete
That is the title given to the Olympic combined events champion so apropos that our championship starts with decathlons and heptathlons. The main stadium, Ratina, was the location for M65+ decathlon, preliminaries for 100m and 800m plus W55+ shot put. W50- heptathlon and women’s 5000m race walk were contested at Hervanta. Women’s hammer was contested at TESC.
Current WMA record holders, Mirja Kokko, W60, FIN, and Eva Nohl, W70, GER, met expectations by winning their respective hammer contests. Racewalk featured WMA record holders Jacqueline Wilson, W75, NZL and Heather Carr, W70, AUS. Jacqueline holds W75 3000m and 5000m racewalk records. She bested Pirjo Karetie, FIN, and Kathleen Frable, USA who is competing in her 18th WMA Championship. Of course, we cannot forget our Executive Vice President, Lynne Schickert, AUS, who placed second in W80 behind Hildegard Vey, RSA.
2000 and 2004 Olympian, Marsha Baird, W45, USA, is facing tough competition so far from Rachel Guest, USA, and Tuire Mäki, FIN. W45 WMA record holder, Tatjana Schilling, W50, GER, scored 3888pts today to lead the competition and possibly setting her up well to set the W50 record.
Athletes were welcome by dancers, a boys choir, cheerleaders, a percussion group, dignitaries and current long jump World Record holder, Mike Powell, who will be competing at this championship. The ceremony is a special event for athletes. It is a mixture of anticipation, excitement and nervousness plus another great time seeing fellow athletes from around the world.