25 October 2017
At 80 years of age Leon Stanley is doing what he can to stay active and keep himself on the field to enjoy the competitive nature of sport, which he is doing every day at the 16th Australian Masters Games.
The former long-time football player from Werribee has signed himself up for tennis, swimming and a number of athletics events in Tasmania’s North West over the next week.
“Well I thought I heard a false start and I stopped a bit, then had to get back into gear but I was pleased with it,” Stanley said after his performance in the 60m dash at the athletics track in Penguin.
“The day has been pretty good, I ran in the 100m this morning and got second.
“Well I don’t really run at home actually, I play a bit of tennis.
“It’s my tenth Masters Games I think, and I normally take up the swimming, running and tennis.”
Stanley played Australian Rules Football until he was 59 and was glad the 2017 Australian Masters Games were being staged in Tasmania, taking a sentimental view on the week down south.
“I’ve enjoyed the week and it’s good for the economy in Tasmania,” he said.
“So, I’m glad they’re holding it this time and it would be great if they had a league football team as well.
“I swam yesterday in Launceston in the 200m and I was fortunate enough to get a gold.”
He is hoping to keep at it on the court for a few years yet, at his own pace, and get to the event in 2019.
“I enjoy meeting new people and the camaraderie, it’s great,” Stanley added.
“Not only that, you get the dividends at the end of your life being fit and healthy.
“I’ll also be at Burnie in the tennis this week, it was pretty hectic the first three days of the Games.
“Well I don’t kill myself, I go within reason, don’t punish my body, only with a pot or two.”
More than 10,000 athletes and spectators will come together in Adelaide in 2019 for the 17th Australian Masters Games.
Tasmania’s North West has put on a show during eight days of memorable Australian Masters Games action, according to Games general manager Scott Wade.
It is impressive for anyone to take up a sport in their later years and compete as a Masters athlete, but starting out as a gymnast at the age of 60 is a remarkable achievement by Alexander Beernink.