World Masters Games athletes get physical online during shutdowns

KYODO – A centenarian sprinter, Olympians and some 300 other athletes have posted videos of their at-home training regimes ahead of the World Masters Games to be held in the Kansai region next year.

The games organizing committee has asked athletes training for the quadrennial international multisport event for competitors aged 30 years and older to share their home workouts during coronavirus lockdowns.

It is hoped the social media campaign will build momentum for the event that is to be hosted in Asia for the first time in May 2021.

Since the project started in late April, some 300 videos have been posted on Twitter and Instagram involving judo, taekwondo and softball athletes hailing from places as diverse as Colombia, Botswana and France. They will be shared on the games’ official website until the end of June.

Man Kaur, a 104-year-old track-and-field athlete from India who won 100-meter sprint gold at the 2017 games in Auckland, posted a video of her running down a corridor at a university dorm where she currently resides.

Saori Sakoda, a member of Japan’s bronze-winning women’s volleyball team at the 2012 London Olympics, demonstrated how to improve one’s concentration by juggling small paper and aluminum foil balls.

“Despite the coronavirus pandemic, many athletes are being creative to continue training at home. We believe sharing those efforts will give motivation ahead of the games,” said Norie Kamiwatari, deputy director at the public relations department of the organizing committee of the World Masters Games 2021.

“The posts are by people from all ages with diverse nationalities, just like the World Masters Games itself,” Kamiwatari said.

“Before the pandemic, an athlete’s training regime was rarely made public,” she said. “We hope those who have to stay home due to the coronavirus will enjoy watching the athletes’ workouts.”

To share training workout videos, athletes need to follow the official Twitter or Instagram account of the World Masters Games 2021 and post their video using the #wmg2021 hashtag.

The World Masters Games, to be held from May 14-30 in 10 western prefectures including Osaka and Kyoto, aims to attract 50,000 athletes from around the world to compete in 59 events across 35 sports. The committee will also recruit some 60,000 volunteers.

The coronavirus pandemic led organizers to consider moving the dates of the games, but it decided on March 31 to hold the event as scheduled after the postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympic Games were rescheduled from July 2021.


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