Masters Track & Field
Chair Report - May 2006
Many athletic fans are consumed with college
basketball during the month of March. I must admit that normally I am, too. This
year was an exception. I was totally immersed in masters track and field for
more than half of the month, and that doesnt include practices. Of
course, I am referring to the two biggest masters championship meets going on in
competition with the NCAA college basketball championships.
was the 2nd WMA World Indoor Championships in Linz, Austria. In order for me to
participate in my events I had to start traveling on Saturday, March 11, mainly
because of frequent flier flight availability, to get to Linz for the shot put
competition starting on Wednesday morning, March 15, at 8:30 a.m.
those of us who have been to these international meets before know, you must be
there at least the day before competition to do your packet pick-up,
declaration, and general orientation of the logistics of the venue. This was the
beginning of my competitions, which would end on Sunday, the
Now to the madness, in particular. Some
might perceive this whole agenda that I spell out to be madness.
that time of year is a winter wonderland. One might ask why anyone would dare
compete in the hammer throw during a snow storm. I guess its because its a
competition and some of us, or even a lot of us, are competition junkies.
There were over one thousand throwers in this meet. The discus and javelin
throwers had a heated field. The hammer and weight throwers had a snow
field. What a challenge.
To make things interesting, my hammer
competition was moved from noon to 5:15 p.m. It gets dark around 6:00 p.m. in
that part of the world. To make things more interesting, we threw out of a poor
discus cage. I have never seen hammers going in so many different places other
than the sector.
This was very unsafe, and I
hope that no world championships, or any other meet or practice, is ever
contested in this poor a cage again. As a matter of fact, I am told that these
winter throws will not be world indoor championship events in the future, but
there still will be winter throws in conjunction with the meet.
wasnt for these throws, the meet probably couldnt make money.
weight throw was a fun challenge as well. My competition was held on the first
sunny day since I had been there. Sunday! The problem was the snow started to
melt and flood the circle as we threw. So much for that competition.
am told that next time the weight throw should be held indoors. The good news
for shot putters was that it was held indoors.
All this being said, I must
admit that the meet was well done overall and had a very nice slower pace
compared to the first indoor championships in Sindelfingen, Germany. Not to say
that was a bad meet. It was a good meet as well.
competitions teach us to have patience, and give us the opportunity to
understand and embrace cultures and friendships from all over the world.
Everyone should be lucky enough to participate.
On to Boston
the way home, I stopped in Boston for another seven days. As usual, this was a
wonderful national indoor championships for most competitors. Not perfect by any
means. Much effort was expended by many people to provide the best
experience possible. Many records and outstanding performances were recorded in
We had an unfortunate situation in Boston, when an athlete
at her first National Championships didnt declare for her race and, therefore,
I wrote about this after San Sebastian, and here it
happens again in our own National Championships which isnt as complicated as
the Worlds. The declaration process was explained on both websites and in the
booklet available at the meet. That being said, we need to do whatever we can to
avoid this in the future.
The result of this sad
situation was that the person who had the bad experience found out the process
and started informing people as they registered of the need to declare and
report to the clerk again 15 minutes before the start of their race. She has
volunteered to be our athlete advocate on this problem at the Outdoor
Championships so this doesnt happen to anyone else.
this person who just didnt complain about a situation, but volunteered to be
part of the solution to the problem.
Another problem we are working on
concerns the finals for foreign athletes in our championships. Our rules say
that a foreign athlete cannot displace the top six U.S. athletes in a final.
That is a problem for foreign athletes when we run on a six-lane track.
The Games Committee made the decision to award duplicate medals based on
time for the foreign athletes who were displaced by U.S. citizens in the finals.
Their place was determined by their time in the previous heat.
apologize to the foreign athletes who were not happy with running in the finals
in an event because of our rules.
We are submitting rule modifications
for this years rule changes to either change the number of U.S. citizens to
five in indoor meets or run those problem events as timed finals.
to Jim Flanik, our new Games Committee Chair, and his team of Carroll DeWeese,
Becky Sisley, and Dick Hotchkiss for a fantastic job.
enjoyed throwing the 56 lb. weight indoors for the first time with an indoor
March was Mad, but I, for one, am very happy with March. I hope
others were as well.