THE region’s golden oldies of sport have had a ripper of a week at the Australian Masters Games in Geelong, bringing home a swag of medals in athletics, gymnastics and basketball.
Boggabri’s Ken Crawford, Narrabri’s Helen Dugdale and Roger Mills and Sonja Diminik from Armidale competed in athletics, basketball and gymnastics.
It was the second Masters for Mr Crawford, a semi-retired farmer, who picked up four medals from five events.
Mr Crawford, who trains with sprint coach John Hickey every Tuesday and Thursday in Gunnedah, came home with a silver in the long jump and bronze in the discus, shot put and 60m sprint.
Coming last in the 100m sprint final brought Mr Crawford down to earth, something his wife Sue has being trying to do since he started training.
“I’m not used to competing and when the starter’s gun went off, I froze,” Mr Crawford said. “It’s been 45 years since I last heard that gun.”
Mr Crawford, who’s 65, but “feels 35”, said his next goal was the Pan Pacific Championships on Queensland’s Gold Coast in November 2014.
“As a farmer I was a fit bloke, but now that I’m semi-retired, I’ve got to work harder,” he said.
“I can’t do exercise unless I’ve got a reason.”
Mr Mills, 53, from Armidale, played basketball alongside his brother Simon, from Shepparton.
The team had three wins and two losses, managing a 59-18 win over the Guam Bonito boys in their final game yesterday.
Fellow Armidale athlete, gymnast Sonja Dominik, was second overall.
The 41-year-old won silver on the uneven bars, silver on the vaults, and bronze on the mini-tramp.
Mrs Dugdale will be the last to hit the track, competing in the 21km half-marathon in the 55 to 59 age group today.
It was her first time at a Masters games, but she’s not a first- time runner, tackling long distances for the past 20 years.
“I’m a plodder, not a runner, but I get there in the end,” the 57-year-old said.
She’s now in training for next year’s London Marathon, held in April.
“I like being fit and having a goal to work towards and travelling at the same time,” Mrs Dugdale said.