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Never Too Old to Compete



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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, July 06, 2011
There are all manner of stories from the World Masters Track and Field Championships.  They opened today at Sacramento State. 
 
The first group of competitors I encountered was a race walking team from Bolivia.
Esther Cabrera's (she is on the far left in the picture) race walking is quite a bit better than my Spanish, but my Spanish was good enough to find out she and her teammates are enjoying Sacramento very much.
 
CABRERA: "It's wonderful." 
 
The Bolivian team makes up four of the 4800 competitors from 93 countries.  Each discipline is broken up into five-year age categories.
 
Two dozen competitors, like Willie Banks and Al Joyner, are former world or Olympic champions.  Duane Holmes is not a former champion, but he does embody the competitive spirit, perhaps even more than most.  When asked why he was participating in his first decathalon this year, at the age of 60.
 
"It's on my bucket list," Then, he laughed."
 
I said, "Well, there you go, I guess you can cross it off." 
 
And that's when I learned that this is a man here to compete, though the results of his efforts are really very, very secondary.
 
He laughed again and said, "I have advanced prostate cancer.   So, I thought, 'Well, let's see if we can get this in and see if we can do it.'"
 
He is indeed doing it and lifting the spirits of those around him.   It is an understatement, perhaps to say he is an easy competitor to root for.   
 
The events and games last until July 17, with 80 percent of them happening at Hornet Stadium. 
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