Buck, 70, and 67-year-old
granddad-of-five win gold
Margaret Buck (top) on her way to gold in the K1 Masters
Over-70 category while John Newton (above) paddles to a
win in the men’s 65-69 event.
ST PHOTOS: LIM WUI LIANG
STILL SO young at heart
IT HAS been almost half a century since Margaret Buck took part in the Tokyo Olympics.
But the 70-year-old Australian has still not lost her competitive edge, slicing through the waters off Marina Bay yesterday to take the gold in the women’s
K1 Masters Over-70 event at the Canoe Marathon World Championships.
As the only participant in that age group, Buck was always guaranteed the win upon completion of the 12.6km race.
That, however, did not stop her from passing the finish line in 1hr 53min 2sec, ahead of both participants in the 60-65 age group.
“I’m disappointed that I couldn’t be consistently fast,” said Buck, a finalist in the women’s K2 500m at the 1964 Olympics and the owner of more than 30 Australian championships.
“As I get older I don’t have the same strength as before, which can be frustrating, but what’s important is being out there.”
That is why she refused to let a respiratory infection upset her race plans in Singapore.
She had been unwell for six weeks leading up to these championships.
“Every year, there will be a reason for you not to do something,” said Buck, who had set her sights on competing at this competition five years ago.
“Sometimes you have just got to do it.”
Compatriot John Newton, the oldest male participant at 67, also proved that age is no barrier.
He won the men’s K1 Masters 65-69 age group, covering 17.2km in 1:44:11.
“I’m as excited about racing now as when I was young,” said the grandfather-of-five, who will race again today in the K2 event.
“I want my body to function to its maximum potential. I don’t want to sit around. I just want to
The motivation that prompted New Zealand’s Keith Alderson to race in Singapore was very different.
The 58-year-old had not planned to compete in the K1 Masters 55-59 age group until the Christchurch earthquake struck in February. He emerged the winner yesterday in 1:30:17.
“If anything, the earthquake kind of made me think that I should come here to compete,” said Alderson, who took part in the 2005 and 2009 editions.
“I wasn’t going to come and then I thought – I could be dead tomorrow.”
The earthquake and aftershocks damaged a restaurant he co-owns, forcing it to close, but that
gave him more time for the sport he loves. Still, he had the added challenge of preparing for
the championships on a multi-sport boat – a wider and larger boat than the single-seat kayak he usually races in, as that was too unsafe to paddle in the
Avon River, which had become polluted after the disaster.
Not that he is complaining. “I feel lucky to be alive,” he said. “If you were in the wrong place, you’d be gone.”
Meanwhile, Singapore’s sole representative yesterday, Chua Ghee Soon, finished eighth in the
men’s K1 Masters 40-44 year-old category.
The Singapore 2010 Canoe Marathon Masters as seen in the “STRAITS TIMES” THURSDAY, OCTOBER 20, 2011