Veteran athlete Tony Bowman defies ill health to claim Masters crown

Tony Bowman, centre, with his gold medal.
Tony Bowman, centre, with his gold medal.
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Even a serious heart condition didn’t stop 83-year-old athlete Tony Bowman from winning a gold medal at the Masters Championships in Poland.

Bowman turns 84 years of age in September aand he travelled to take part in the championships in Toruń, where the man from Guiseley posted a time of 11.77 seconds in the indoor 60 metre hurdles M80 final to blow the opposition out of the water.

He said: “It’s incredible. I was looking behind but I don’t know how many metres it was, it was quite a gap!”

Despite the recent health issues, he has shown no signs of slowing down.

Bowman added: “I’m lucky to still be competing but I never think about it.

“I wouldn’t have thought it because in December I was rushed to hospital with heart failure and I’ve still got a condition called Atrial Fibrillation.

“I’m going for my second ablation next month, which requires burning parts of the inside of my heart to stop the irregular electric system.

“But like I said, I tend not to think about it and once that gun goes I give everything!

“I love competition. The adrenaline rush is fantastic and if you’re a winner it’s even better; I love a challenge and I don’t like losing.”

This hasn’t been the first time the resilient 83-year-old has reached the summits of veteran athletics.

In 2012 he ran the indoor 60 metre hurdles and broke the world record.

“That was an unbelievable achievement,” added Bowman.

“I was 71 when I won the New Year Sprint in Scotland and when I turned 80 I broke 13 sprint and decathlon records.”

In his younger years, Bowman tried his hand at long-distance running, but several injuries made him think that it wasn’t for him.

As for athletics, he said: “I’m very fortunate and have always loved athletics.

“I have never had much stamina but I have always been quick.

“Although I’m 83 I feel like I’m in my 40s even with everything that’s happened.”

Bowman was however surprised by the lack of funding given to him for his outstanding endeavours. He said: “I have to pay my own expenses, I don’t get anything from the organisations or the government and that’s a question I have been pondering for years. But, the competitions are open so I can sometimes understand why.”

He isn’t stopping there however. Next month will see him compete in a hockey tournament in Wellingborough, where he is part of the first over-80s team ever assembled.