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Yukoner wins hardware at masters worlds in New Zealand

Whitehorse athletics star Brenda Dion has an impressive collection of masters medals that just keeps on growing.

Whitehorse athletics star Brenda Dion has an impressive collection of masters medals that just keeps on growing.

Last year she won medals at the B.C. Masters, the Canadian Masters, the Canada 55+ Games and the Americas Masters Games.

Dion added to the tally at the 2017 World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand, April 21-30.

Competing in the women’s 60-64 division, Dion won four medals in track and field events. She took gold in the long jump with a personal best distance of 3.65 metres; silver in discus with a throw of 16.85 metres; silver in javelin at 20.01 metres; and bronze in the 100-metre dash with a time of 16.91 seconds.

“I found it difficult to train for the throws and long jump events during the winter so I focused my training mostly on strength and overall fitness,” said Dion in an email to the News. “The Canada Games Centre allowed me to practice my throws in the field house using an indoor discus and short plastic practice javelin. However the training didn’t transfer well to the outdoors and I wasn’t able to throw personal bests, but (it was) good enough to medal.

“I’m most happy with my long jump as I was able to jump a personal best.”

Dion, who was competing at her third worlds, was one of four Whitehorse athletes to compete at the ninth installment of the quadrennial Games.

Whitehorse’s Bryan Craven, Bonnie Love and John Storms, who all competed in athletics as well, joined her.

Storms, who was competing in men’s 55-59, took in two fifth place finishes in race walking, finishing the 5,000-metre in 28:56.08 and the 1,500-metre with a time of 7:24.10 — a personal best by 52 seconds. Storms, who was racing at his first worlds, also placed sixth in the 3,000-metre race walk at 17:21.26.

“I was happy with my performances certainly did very well in the 1,500-metre race walk, my 3,000-metre was about average and the 5,000 was a little faster than my best at a competition. It was a great opportunity to race with and get taught from the best,” said Storms in an email.

“It was nice to see people here that I had met and got to know from other countries at previous races, and meet new friends and discuss where we might meet at the next races.”

Love, who was in women’s 55-59, also competed in race walks on the track. She placed fourth in the 5,000-metre at 37:48.69 and fifth in the 1,500-metre at 10:31.37. Love was disqualified in the 3,000.

“This year wasn’t too much about my performance. It’s hard to train for events over the winter so I knew I wouldn’t do great,” said Love in an email. “Race walking is very technical and for one event 25 per cent of the competitors were DQ’d including me. It is the only track and field event where judges decide your destiny! I’d love to be faster but most importantly is to maintain form, which requires a lot of practice and a certain amount of strength.”

The Yukon squad didn’t just compete on the track. Dion and Craven also competed in a 10-kilometre road race on April 22 and in an eight-kilometre cross-country race on April 30.

Dion, who was celebrating her 60th birthday on the day of the road race, placed ninth in her division, clocking a time of 57:32. She placed eighth in the cross-country race at 47:15.4.

Craven, who raced in the men’s 60-64 division, finished eighth in the cross-country event at 44:22.9 and 19th in the road race at 57:33.

“My finishing time was not important to me and I was happy to complete the 10k road and 8k country runs without falling and causing myself further injury,” said Craven in an email. “There were 70- and 80-year-olds participating (who were) quite an inspiration in keeping active.”

“The highlight of these Games is always watching athletes in their 70s, 80s, 90s, and even 100s still running, jumping and throwing,” he added. “We witnessed Man Kaur, a women aged 101, break the world record when she ran the 100-metre in 74 seconds and the 200-metre in under three minutes! I told her I hope to be running just like her when I’m 101!”

Craven wasn’t the only Yukoner impressed by competitors in the older divisions.

“The race walking highlight was watching a 94-year-old woman compete and get through the judging for the 1,500-, 3,000- and 5,000-metre events,” said Love. “She looked amazing. Sport certainly keeps you young.”

Contact Tom Patrick at