Inspirational feats

WATCHING the octogenerians compete at the Oceania Masters athletics championship in Bendigo is so inspiring.

These athletes in their 80s prove that age or injury is no barrier to doing what they do.

Athletes compete for all sorts of reasons, whether it's in their teens, 30s, 50s or 80s.

One of the best aspects of athletics is personal best.

It's not always about who crosses the line first, throws the greatest distance or leaps highest.

It's not always about who crosses the line first or throws the greatest distance

Those at the Masters are doing so for PBs, but it's the fun and fitness which matters most.

Some of these athletes, such as walking ace Dean Nipperess have represented their country before.

It was more than 20 years ago that Nipperess lined up in the green and gold at Eight Nations Cup across Europe.

He has fought back from injuries and operations to keep powering on in the walks circuit.

Not only does Nipperess inspire by his feats, but he plays a key role coaching many of the country's rising stars in racewalking.

As he strode to victory along Bendigo's Pall Mall, Nipperess was being followed by athletes from all walks of life.

Among them were father and daughter, Geoff Major (pictured) and his daughter, Annette.

They have racked up thousands of kilometres in racing and training over the years through Rosalind Park and at many other spots around the city.

Bendigo Walkers clubmates such as Norm West have done the same and keep on competing well.

At the track and it's been competitors from their 30s up to 80s who have shown their versatility in the 10-discipline decathlon or seven-event heptathlon.

The multis are a mixture of runs, throws, jumps and include one of the most taxing events, pole vault.

At 86-years-young, Rad Leovic showed remarkable resilience in the decathlon.

These Oceania championships have drawn athletes from 10 countries to compete on the track or field in Flora Hill, on the city's streets, or around the Bendigo Jockey Club course, aptly named the 'Nursery of Champions'.

Later in the week and one of Australia's greatest distance runners, Steve Moneghetti will be racing at the Oceania Masters.

An Olympian, world championship and  Commonwealth Games representative, Moneghetti has achieved a lot.

Just as the Masters athletes have shown age is no barrier, the same applies for some in Australia's Test cricket team.

Although passed the mid-30 mark, opening batsman Chris Rogers and wicket-keeper Brad Haddin have played key roles in regaining the Ashes.

It was not so long ago that Chris Rogers was playing in a Premier Cricket match for Essendon at Maryborough's Princes Park.

A long way to the top included a step or two on Maryborough's turf. 

Masters athletes prove that age is no barrier

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