Brisbane athlete masters walks race at Oceania champs in Bendigo

BRISBANE'S Dean Nipperess powered to victory in Sunday morning's 10km walk at the Oceania Masters athletics championships in Bendigo.

Racing in the 40-45 years class, Nipperess completed the walk in and around Rosalind Park in the city centre in 48.39 minutes.

Although he did not achieve his goal of breaking his Oceania Masters record the walks competitor and coach was rapt to have won gold.

A field of more than 30 ranging in age from 42 to 81 years contested the walk along Pall Mall, through the nearby Park and back along Pall Mall.

Nipperess was on track to break his record.

"At 6km I was 10 seconds under the time I had set."

A stomach cramp flared in the next couple of kilometres and he slipped to five seconds off his target time.

There will be more times to pursue at the Flora Hill track later this week when he contests the 3km and 5km walks.

These Games are the second Oceania Masters that Nipperess has contested.

His gold medal-winning and record-setting 10km walk at the previous Masters in New Zealand occurred just seven months after making a comeback to race walking.

Nipperess was one of the country's top juniors in 1990 and represented Australia at the eight-nations meet across Europe.

Work commitments with the military meant he stopped race walking.

He did represent defence in touch footy and rejoined forces with long-time walks coach Dave Smith.

Shoulder operations and a back injury have been other setbacks to overcome.

The walks ace said one of the Masters mottos was "No age or injury is a barrier".

It was shown by the diverse range of ages represented in the walks action along Bendigo's thoroughfares and popular walking spots.

Sunday's action at the Masters Games rolls on at the La Trobe University Bendigo athletics complex in Retreat Road, Flora Hill.

The decathlon and heptathlon events for the Masters will be decided.

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