Many have wondered how Polish Masters Athletics could top the Championship they hosted in 2019. To start, they took the plan, so excellently executed, and made adjustments. The LOC and WMA worked closely together to ensure it would meet or exceed the expectations of those who attended the much acclaimed WMACi2019. Arena Toruń, which has hosted several, high level, international competitions, will again be the focal point for the Championships. Cross country races will be run in Rudelka Park. Throws will be in the adjacent stadium and sports hall. Road racing and 10k racewalk will be on courses looping around the streets, arenas and stadium.
WMA Championships are special. They are conducted like other major World Championships. All participants have the exceptional World Championship experience of competing with the best, sometimes all-time best, athletes in the world, attending the opening and closing ceremonies, medal ceremonies. A difference between WMA and other World Championships is the bond and friendships, sometimes lifetime, created and fostered at WMA Championships.
These Championships will be great for those reasons and many more. However, how does one follow WMACi2019 where thirty-nine world records were set and many exciting competitions? Having 2010 – 2019 WMA Athletes of the Decade Karla Del Grande, W65, CAN, and Arild Busterud, M75, NOR, WMA Best Overall Athletes Rietje Dijkman, W80, NED (2005), Earl Fee, M90, CAN (2005 & 2019), Rita Hanscom, W65, USA (2009), Charles Allie, M75, USA (2013 & 2018), Carol LaFayette-Boyd, W80, CAN (2018 & 2022) and David Carr, M90, AUS (2022), at least twenty-five former Olympians and multiple world record holders participate is a great start!
Karla Del Grande and Caroline Powell, GBR, had an epic contest in the W65 400m where both ran faster than the world record in heats and again in the final where Karla set the current world record. Expect others, including Gunnel Tolfes, SWE and Anny Undheim, NOR to challenge Karla and Caroline for podium spots!
Arild Busterud is competing in his first WMA Indoor Championship but has competed in eleven WMA Stadia Championships earning many gold medals and setting several world records at them. He will be competing in shot put, hammer, discus and weight. Arild should contend for gold in each. The closest competition might be against Leszek Bobrzyk, from the host country, in discus.
Robert Maćkowiak, M50, POL, competed in the Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 Olympics where he won four glod medals in addition to his three IAAF Championship gold medals. There are at least eleven other athletes from the host country who also competed in the Olympics: Sebastian Chmara, M50:, Atlanta 1996; Robert Korzeniowski, M50: Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004; Tomasz Lipiec, M50: Sydney 2000; Anna Jakubczak-Pawelec, W50: Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Bejing 2008; Magdalena Szczepanska, W40: Athens 2004; Robert Wolski, M40: Athens 2004; Joanna Wisniewska, W50: Athens 2004, Bejing 2008; Grzegorz Sudol, M40: Athens 2004, Bejing 2008, London 2012; Rafal Fedaczynski, M40: Bejing 2008, London 2012; Rafal Sikora, M35: London 2012; Jakub Jelonek, M35: Rio 2016. James Beckford, M45, JAM, competed in the 2000 Sydney, 2004 Athens Olympics plus won silver medals in Atlanta 1996, 1995 Gothenburg (IAAF) and 2003 Paris
Petra Bajeat, W55, FRA, Virginia Mitchell, W60, GBR and Charles Allie, M75, USA, who all set world records at WMACi2019, return to compete in new age groups. Other individual world record setters from WMACi2019 are Alison Wood, W45, USA, Irie Hill, W50, GBR, Maria Rosa Escribano Checa, W60, ESP, Karla Del Grande, W65, CAN, and Ian Richards, M70, GBR.
WMA welcomes the youngest female and male respectively, Lucie Membrado, W35, FRA and Ty Chapman, M35, AUS, to Masters Athletics! We are honored that Bhagwani Devi, W95, IND and Sawang Janpram, M100, THA, the oldest in their respective groups have joined us.
This promises to be another great event in the birthplace of Mikołaj Kopernik, Nicolaus Copernicus for some of us. What better way to honor the 550th anniversary of his birth? Follow the action!