Sharpe has the edge at games

BRIAN Sharpe was just one spot short off competing in the 1956 Olympic Games.

He was in the squad and was ready to represent his country, but fell agonisingly short.

While some people might give up after not making the team, Sharpe decided to continue competing in the sport he loves.

Growing up in central western New South Wales, Sharpe began running when he was a teenager.

“I have been involved in athletics since I was 16 years old back in Orange,” he said.

“I won a Country Championships when I was 18 years old and I have been doing it ever since.

"I was a middle distance and marathon runner."

Sharpe said he took part in the first World Masters competition, held in Toronto, Canada in 1975.

“It was a big deal to go to the first games, it was a major event,” he said.  

“It was very good.”

The 83-year-old said he also coached some of Australia’s budding young athletes.

“I have got coaching certificates, I went and got the certificates when I was unable to do middle distance running anymore,” he said.  

“I coached through the whole spectrum of track and field.  

“I coached at a national level and didn’t start competing again until about 20 years ago.”

Sharpe said throughout the years he had managed to escape injury, however suffered a major scare last year.

“I did have colon cancer last year, which was probably the most serious thing that has ever happened to me,” he said.

"But I do still train. 

"The good runners and the successful runners are the ones that can train irrespective of their age."  

In Bendigo for the Oceania Masters Athletics Championships, Sharpe won gold in the 800m run and bronze in the 60m and 100m dash.

On Thursday he competed in the pentathlon, he was the only competitor in his 80-84 age division.

Sharpe said he loves to compete.  

“I always thought that if you don’t get a buzz out of it and there is no enthusiasm in competing than I might as well go and sit on the sidelines and watch,” he said.  

“But I have never got to that stage yet.

“I don’t think I will be stopping anytime soon.” 

Sharpe said throughout his time in the masters games he has met a diverse range of people.

He says the best part about any athletic competition is getting to know people who have similar interests. 

“The games haven’t changed over the years,” he said.

“It has always been a place where people have excelled and had fun way beyond their so called best years.”

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