November 25, 2016 · 11:23 AM
Frances Steinfeld competed for Canada at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Perth, Australia recently. / Troy Landreville/Langley Times
While her results Down Under didn’t bear fruit, Frances Steinfeld’s experience was, overall, a satisfying one.
The 78-year-old Langley resident competed at the 22nd World Masters Athletics Track and Field Championships that ran Oct. 26 to Nov. 6 in Perth, Australia.
More than 4,000 competitors and 3,000 supporters from roughly 80 countries visited Perth for the 12-day event, which featured 25 events ranging from the javelin to 100m sprint.
“I finished near the bottom all the time,” said Steinfeld who competed in most throwing events except the javelin (“I had to go and see some family,” she quipped) and also the weight pentathlon, which was four throws on the same day.
For Steinfeld – a track veteran who said she started up the sport in the “late ’70s, early ’80s” — travelling to the meet offered another opportunity to visit family in Australia, and to be a tourist in the country.
Her daughter, Susan, lives in Melbourne and her brother, Robert, and his family live in Perth.
“The two cousins — my daughter and (Robert’s) daughter — were having a great time on the sidelines (shouting) Go Canada!” Steinfeld related.
“It was fun and that was the bottom line.”
Since you had to pay to compete, the trip to Perth was pricey. Steinfeld was asked: was it worth it?
“No,” she said candidly. “Well, not for us little bottom-of-the-heapers; I’m sure the people who are at the top of the heap who are really good at it… and they were sort of the same bunch and they all knew each other in the age group I was in. They weren’t very friendly because they didn’t know me.”
That said, Steinfeld said she was quite focused during the competition.
“When I was finished, I went off with the family, so I didn’t join the Canadian team as much,” she said.
Steinfeld attended “most” of the opening ceremonies, “but once they got going with the politicians… I’ve heard that before.”
It’s “quite the circuit,” she added.
Running to throwing
Steinfeld’s nearly four decade involvement in track and field began as a way to relieve stress and tension.
Her late husband, Rudolf, enjoyed rowing and running.
“He got me started,” Steinfeld said. “You know, when you get fat, you go for a run and eventually it [the fat] falls off. It’s the usual sequence of events.”
She eventually joined the Tri-City Greyhounds track club “because I could run fairly well, and it was much more fun running.”
In early 2000, the longtime participant in the 55-plus BC Seniors Games decided that her legs would eventually wear out, so she switched her focus to throwing events, in particular discus and shot put.
This eventually led her to the Maple Ridge-based Ultra Throw Club, guided by president Dave McDonald.
“They taught me more how to throw all five things — the shot, the discus, the hammer, the weight, and the javelin,” Steinfeld said.
She plans on staying with the club for the foreseeable future.
Club mate Basil (Scott) Henney, 91, from Maple Ridge, was also in Perth and did “incredibly well,” Steinfeld said.
McDonald also attended the World Masters meet.
“He’s an absolutely brilliant coach,” Steinfeld said.
“He takes you from the beginning. Some of them (coaches) do spins and all this sort of wonderful stuff. I haven’t quite got up to that, but look out if I get that far. I hope to throw quite a bit farther.” - LINK: http://www.langleytimes.com/sports/403030296.html?mobile=true