The World Masters Indoor Athletics Championships’ oldest competitor had a great day Tuesday, for a couple of reasons.
For starters, Olga Kotleko won the discus in her age group, throwing 12.99 metres.
Just as important, however, it was Olga’s birthday. The West Vancouver resident, who has been competing in masters track and field events for more than 14 years, turned 91.
She is competing in 11 events in the games.
“This is my life,” she said. “I’m here to set records.”
Kotleko, who says she has won 600 gold medals at masters events, swore the athlete’s oath during Sunday’s opening ceremonies.
“It was an honour to be chosen,” she said.
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The medal race has begun in earnest.
After nearly two days of competition, Canada stood atop the medal count podium although not by much. By late Tuesday, Team Canada’s athletes had accumulated 35 medals — 11 gold, 10 silver and 14 bronze. Team USA, by comparison, had 31 medals, with 14 gold, 10 silver and seven bronze.
You are able to view standings and results at www.kamloops2010masters.com.
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Local runner Ken Crockett, a construction worker who is featured in a series of advertisements promoting the Kamloops games, had a chance Tuesday to run shoulder-to-shoulder with one of the world’s best sprinters.
Crockett, 57, ran in one of the qualifying heats for the M55 200 metres alongside U.S. elite sprinter Bill Collins, 59.
Collins won the heat, cruising to an easy victory in 25.21 seconds. Collins was an alternate on the U.S. 4x100-metre Olympic team in 1972.
Crockett held his own, however, and kept close to the lanky Collins. Crockett crossed in second place, in 27.86 seconds.
Melvin Doherty, another well-known local runner, also competed in the 200 metres, in the M60 category.
The finals of the 200m events go today.
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What could be the Games’ only father-daughter duo competed Tuesday, not together, of course, but in different events.
Tatiana Little, 39, and her father Bill Falconer, 89, were on the field competing in discus and hammer throw, respectively. Both are from Kamloops.
Falconer has long been active in local track-and-field circles.
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The Games’ organizational team got glowing early reviews, especially from U.S. team media spokesman Bill Weiner, who said the facilities and organization are among the best he’s ever seen at an event like this.
Everything flows like “clockwork,” he said, with athletes being given a first-rate experience.
“We’re getting what was promised, no doubt. The facilities are incredible. Tracks (in different facilities) vary greatly. This one feels fast and efficient and comfortable,” he said.
“The quality of the organization is spectacular. The host organizing committee has done an amazing job.”