11 February 2018
Sprinters highlight Masters Championships
Olympian Paul Greene made a comeback of sorts at the NSW Masters Championships at SOPAC on Saturday, competing in the 100m in the men’s 45-49 years age group.
Greene, who ran in the 400m and 4x400m at the Atlanta Olympics, is better known as a musician these days and is a member of the superband Ghostwriters along with such Australian music luminaries as Rob Hirst (Midnight Oil) and Rick Grossman (Hoodoo Gurus).
Running for Sydney University on Saturday, Greene, 46, finished fourth behind Mingara’s Ernie Leseberg in the smart time of 11.49. Leseberg maintained his consistent good form across the weekend, also winning the 60m, 200m and 400m is his age category.
It was a surprise to see, but he elaborated on why he was back competing.
“I’ve been coaching since the end of 2017, started with my kids, but I have a small squad now and a girl who I think is going to be competitive. I decided to compete to give the squad a bit of a push to get out and run. I like it to be social, and it’s a great way to get fit.
Green last competed in January 2000, so it has been 19 years since he pull on the spikes.
“I’ve been feeling great to be back in a bit of shape, but it is a great rush, and a thrill to compete and see the results of all the hard work. It’s very rewarding. It’s been nice to get back to the basics without the pressure and expectation of high level competition. I was happy to be beaten by three guys because now I respect how hard they must have worked to run those times.. Ernest Lenesbergs 11.4 for a 47-year-old is amazing! I guess that inspires me to work a bit harder too to see what I might be capable of.”
The fastest 100m of the meeting was 11.01s by Ashley McMahon (UTS Norths) in the 40-44 years category. McMahon, the UTS Norths president, was aiming to run under 11s, a feat he has achieved in 13 of his past 15 seasons. The only time he has failed to run 10.99s or better was the two years he took out to start a family.
With the best part of three months left in the 2018-19 season, he is well on track to achieve his goal. In his age group, McMahon currently holds the Australian records for 60m, 100m and 200m and the NSW records for the decathlon and 400m. In the first two months of 2019 he bettered the previous Australian 60m record, held by Greg Smith of Campbelltown, three times.
He also won the 60m and 200m on the weekend.
World beach sprint champion Dave Smith switched from the sand to the track to take out the 60m in the 60-64 years age group on Sunday. The previous day he had been representing his surf club Shelley Beach in a branch surf carnival.
Gianna Mogentale, who has been off the scene for almost two seasons through injury and family commitments, made a welcome return to the championships, dominating the women’s sprints in the 55 to 59 years age group.
She easily won the 60m, 100m, 200m and 400m.
Dual world champion, Gabi Watts won five gold medals in the 50-54 years throws. In addition to her specialties hammer (40.84m), discus (32.85m), shot (11.59m) and weight throw (14.31m) she was able to claim the javelin (22.08m).
Ron Bendall for Athletics NSW
Image: Ashley McMahon (courtesy of Janet Naylon)