Inspirational Bill breaks record
Journalists: Saxon Durrant, Laura Meachim and Carly Laden
American sprinter Bill Collins broke a world record on Saturday as the US, Great Britain and Australia took home three golds each in the men’s 100m finals.
Collins, 65, backed up his impressive showings from earlier rounds to blitz the field and the old world record, running in an incredible time of 12.17 seconds.
Collins, who was diagnosed with Guillian-Barre syndrome in 2011 was speechless but thanked the crowd for their support and providing him with the inspiration to run.
“I’m just happy to be here, it’s hard to believe that I’ve come back from where I was at, from not walking to not running and records are just unbelievable,” Collins said.
“I’ve done enough of these for me, but this is what’s it all about, the love you get from people, their encouragement they gave me for me to come back to where I was at and to do this now is incredible,” Collins said.
Guillian-Barre syndrome is a potentially life threatening disorder caused by the immune system attacking part of the peripheral nervous system. Symptoms start with weakness and muscle deterioration and can result in complete paralysis.
Collins, who spent five days in a hospital bed in 2011 and prayed to just walk again, urged others to set their own goals in pursuit of a healthy lifestyle.
“I believe in my heart that if you just get out and try, it’s not about what you accomplish, set your own goals. Whether it’s to lose five pounds or to do two more sit ups, just set a goal for life,” Collins said.
In the M45 category, American Karnell Vickers won gold in a photo finish that saw the top 3 only separated by just 0.3 seconds.
With Vickers not knowing the result until 20 minutes after the race, it was his decisive lean into the finish that earned him a trip to the top step of the podium in the time of 12.09.
Vickers said he was shocked upon hearing the news and that it’s been incredible to run for America in the Masters championships.
“It’s a dream come true to win gold here, I passed on my Olympic opportunity and I didn’t think I would get a shot to run on this level,” Vickers said.
In the M40 category, crowd favourite and defending world champion TJ Ossai retained his title with a 10:58 second time, holding off Australian contender Ashley McMahon to claim the gold.
Ossai said that he was ecstatic with the result and time and thanked the fans for their support.
“You can hear their voices all the way, that gives you an extra push, more adrenaline and better performances,” Ossai said.
“Perth is awesome, this is probably one of the best championships I’ve come to, and the organisation has been second to none.”
Great Britain also took home golds in the M60 and M80 category, with renowned sports psychiatrist and world champion Steve Peters defending his M60 title in 12.11 after a late inclusion into the final and M80 athlete Tony Bowman beating his preliminary time by over a second to win in 14.85.
Australia took home golds in the M70, M75 and M95 category, with Peter Crombie, Barrie Kernaghan, and 96-year-old Arthur Carbon winning in front of their home crowd.
Frenchman Eric Reuillard put on a masterclass for the crowd at the weekend turning the M35-39 pole vault into a personal quest to reach new heights.
In the windy conditions special measures were made to keep the bar in place but the 36-year-old continued to fly with confidence until he failed to clear 4.85m to the dismay of onlookers who were enjoying the show.
Reuillard had only praise for his competition each supporting the other in a show of true camaraderie.
“In pole vault our first enemy is the pole not our other athletes so it was a good competition to coach each other,” he said.
Italy’s Allesandro Cambon failed to clear 440 cm but took the silver while Australian Cameron Sherry took the bronze clearing 380 cm.
Cambon congratulated Reuillard but was disappointed in his own performance.
“I definitely could have jumped a little higher but I’m happy with the silver,” he said.
“The French dude was too good today.”
Veteran Pole Vaulter and ex A-league goal keeper Matt Ujma was unable to lift and pulled out with a hamstring injury.
“It was only the last six months that I decided to compete,” Ujma said.
Ujma was impressed with the form of his rivals and said the competition was tough this year.
“The others were all in good shape and if you like they raised the bar.”
Saturday saw the M65-69 triple jump kick off the day with a close tussle.
Although the cool weather slowed the pace after the first three rounds, Istvan Korosi eventually took gold with a jump of 10.84m.
The 66-year-old was a frontrunner from the start of the contest but managed to break away from the other competitors in the final round of jumps.
Korosi was excited to win gold for the first time after taking first place in the European Championship three times prior.
When asked about how he is finding Perth, Korosi described the people as very kind and he enjoyed the friendly atmosphere the people bring.
Belgium’s Paul Henry was hot on Korosi’s tail, winning the silver with 10.41m and Japan’s Yutaka Harama was close behind in third with 10.29m.
US champion Bill Collins breaks clear of the field to set a new world record in the M65-69 mens 100m of 12.17 seconds. Picture: Jesse Chance
Crowd favourite TJ Ossai, celebrates after retaining his 100m crown at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Perth at the weekend. Picture: Jesse Chance