If you like athletic events, have always thought you could compete, and you are over 50 years old, the Senior Games are for you. Those events kicked off Saturday at the Portsmouth Athletic Complex.
“Today is our track and field,” Lyvette Mosley, organizer of the event, said. “The long jump standing, the long jump running, the high jump, the , the javeline is going to be last, and the running events — the 50-yard dash, 100-yard dash, 200-yard dash, and the 1,500 meter run. We have the 1,500-meter race walk, 5,000-meter race walk, and that’s basically what we’re doing today.”
In addition to competitors from Ohio, Mosley said participants came in from Colorado, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia.
“I’m from Parker, Colorado, just south of Denver,” Steve Gettel said. “I’m a big Masters Track and Field supporter and I compete whenever I can. My wife lives in Chillicothe, Anna Villareal, and we’re kind of back and forth between our two businesses and I saw an opportunity to throw (shotput and discus) here at the Ohio Games, so I thought I’d come down and throw. I’m training for the World Masters Games in Perth, Australia, so I want to throw whenever I can.”
The Senior Games also present the chance for the area to show off its facilities for such events.
“I think that it’s an opportunity to showcase our community,” Wendi Waugh of Southern Ohio Medical Center, one of the organizers, said. “I personally attended the Birmingham, Alabama National Games Conference, and I toured the venue where they’re going to have the national games and I can tell you right now that this stadium is every bit as beautiful and nice.”
Nadine Carver of didn’t want to tell her age, but when she ran toward the bar at the high jump it really didn’t matter.
“I’m plenty old enough to have competed a long time ago,” Carver said. “I do high jump, long jump, triple jump, 50, 100 and the 200 dash. I started in about 2007. We didn’t have ladies sports when I was in school, so I was old when I started.”
Once again, students from Shawnee State University were in the middle of another community activity.
“The Shawnee State Rotaract Club came out today to volunteer and help to run field events, help time, help with the set up this morning at 7 a.m.,” Sabrina Calloway of SSU Rotaract club said. “This is kind of what Rotaract is all about. We’re an extension of Rotary and we’re trying to teach the students to be involved with Portsmouth while they’re here for four years and to help better the community outside of Shawnee.”
An opening prayer, the National Anthem, and “let the games begin!”
“It makes me proud and I am so proud that these people came from so many areas, states and communities to see what we have to offer here in Portsmouth,” Waugh said. “I expect soon for Ohio to ask us to be the leader of the state games.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.