Sport

No slowing down for Thomas

Tom Hancock, winner of seven gold medals at the Australian Masters Athletics Championships.
Tom Hancock, winner of seven gold medals at the Australian Masters Athletics Championships. Adam Hourigan

WINNING gold medals has become a habit for Thomas Hancock.

The 75-year-old Maclean world champion athlete has been at it again, doing what he does best - blowing rival competitors away at the Australian Masters over the Easter weekend.

Not only did he win a remarkable seven gold medals, Hancock managed to show up athletes almost half his age, winning the prestigious throw pentathlon for all ages.

"I did a bit better this year, winning seven gold. I was in a new age group, which was the 75-79," Hancock said.

"But for me personally the best thing about the tournament was winning the overall throw pentathlon for the meet.

"I had the best score and won the shield as Masters champion in throw against all ages.

"It was lovely to beat those competitors in their 30s and 40s."

Hancock recorded an overall score of 4103 and was the only competitor to pass the 4000 mark.

A former physical education teacher in Melbourne, Hancock admits keeping in shape and staying at the top of his sport requires plenty of hard work in and out of the gym.

"This is the 60th year I've been competing in athletics. I started when I was 15 and I'm blessed nothing is wrong with me," he said.

"I go to the Body Rock Gym at Maclean three days a week and throw three days a week and on Sunday I'm off to church.

"I do a lot of stretching and a fair bit of running. It keeps everything flowing."

Apart from maintaining his flexibility, strength and a sound mental approach were paramount to winning events, Hancock said yesterday.

"When you get older you may lose your speed and your flexibility but you can keep your strength up," he said.

"Also, before each event you have to know your technique. You have to have your eyes in a certain position, as well as your left foot.

"Before you pick up say the javelin you have to run through your head what you need to do. You get yourself in the zone," he said.

Like most athletes, Hancock finds that competing at a high level can take its toll on the body, but for a man who will be celebrating his 76th birthday in June there's no sign of slowing down.

"I competed in 11 events over five days but I was straight back to the gym on the Wednesday," he said.

"I just did some light stuff to get rid of all the lactic acid."



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