Never too old to win national athletics competition

Albert Gay would easily be fitter and stronger than most.

He is also 76 years old.

The Raby resident competed in the Australian Masters Athletics Championships in Perth recently – and he cleaned up.

Gay came away with five gold meals in pole vault, long jump, 80 metre hurdles, 300 metre hurdles and pentathlon as well as five silver medals in high jump, shot put, javelin, 60 metres and 100 metre sprints.

And if that wasn’t enough, he also set a new Australian Championship record in pole vault for his age group.

Not to mention he only had hip replacement surgery about 18 months ago.

“I am proud to have won medals in all the events I entered,” Gay said.

“I wanted to see how my body would go after the surgery. I went well and I am very happy.”

Gay retired aged 60 and wondered what he would do with himself.

“I took up athletics,” he said. “I gradually got into the sport more and have continued to progress.

“I have been involved in athletics masters competitions at a national and world levels many times.

“I got a gold, silver and bronze medal at the Sydney world masters event.

“Three years ago I competed at the world masters championships in France and got a bronze in decathlon and silver in pole vault.”

Gay’s two main disciplines are decathlon and pole vault.

He was world number two in masters athletics before his hip problems.

Gay has slowly improved his strength and fitness since surgery.

“I train five to six times a week,” he said.

“I’m now training for stamina. I run on the road or do seven kilometre hill runs.

“I also train at the athletics track at Leumeah and I like to get to Fit HQ gym at Campbelltown a couple of days a week to keep my strength up.”

Gay is part of the Campbelltown Collegians Athletics Club.

The athlete said he had always been fit because he played sport in his younger years.

“Sport was always a high priority for me,” Gay said.

“I like being fit and it comes fairly naturally to me.

“When I tried competing in masters I wanted to see how good I was against people who had been competing in athletics for long than me.

“I love the competition side.”

Gay said many young people at the gym or track could not keep up with him.

“Training and being fit keeps my biological age down,” he said.

Gay’s next international competition will be at the Pan Pacific Masters Games on the Gold Coast in November.