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Age no barrier

Arin Kumar
Friday, July 04, 2014

AGE is no barrier in sport and 38-year-old Bimlesh Kumar proved it by attaining a sixth place world ranking in Masters Athletics.

The Korovuto College teacher is ranked among the top athletes in the world in the 35 to 39 age category in the 3000metres Steeplechase event according to mastersathletics.co.

Kumar ran a time of 12:06.60 minutes in the event at the Oceania Masters Championship in Bendigo, Australia earlier this year to move up the rankings.

That performance gave him an Oceania ranking of third and world ranking of sixth after he finished the overall competition with a gold medal, five silver medals and a bronze medal.

In the 1500m event, Kumar ran the event in a time of 8.23m to be ranked 28th in the world and fourth in the Oceania.

His time of 58.46m in the 5000m event allowed him to be ranked 27th in the world and fifth in the Oceania region.

Kumar turns 39 on July 10 and he said he was not done yet.

The Jet Runners Club of Nadi member feels he still has a lot to offer to his country in Masters Athletics and is looking forward to competing in more overseas events to improve his ranking.

"I was surprised when I was informed of the ranking," he said.

"The ranking has motivated me to improve my fitness and compete in more international events to increase the profile of long distance running in Fiji and also to motive the younger generation to take up long distance running."

However, Kumar said his ranking would drop later in the year because he would not be able to compete in the World Masters Championships in Brazil later this year.

"I went to compete in the Oceania event on my own expenses because it was closer to Fiji but the cost to Brazil would be a lot more.

"The athletes would have to pay for their own expenses to travel to the event and if I had funding or sponsorship, I would have definitely competed.

"But I will definitely compete in the next Oceania Championship in Cook Islands and there I want to improve my times and I will also compete in Australia in the 2016 World Masters Championships in the 40 to 45 age category which is harder."

Unlike professional athletes, Kumar trains on cross country and grass tracks in Nadi.

Jet Runners Club president Abinesh Kumar has called on Athletics Fiji and national coaches to recognise the potential his athletes have.





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