Rants

WMA responds to questions about differing Malaga athletes surveys

A week ago, I made a stink about WMA posting results of a Malaga athlete survey that differed from one leaked to me. On Wednesday, former WMA Secretary Winston Thomas of Britain sent me a statement that doesn’t address all my concerns. But as coordinator of the Marketing and Communications Committee (chaired by ex-Prez Stan Perkins), Winston at least tackles some issues. Winston writes: I will not comment on your differences of the surveys as I do not know where the initial one you had came from, for the document had not been completed. Let me say that as the…


Why is WMA hiding responses to Malaga survey? Page of critical comments left out

Nearly a month ago, I posted results of a WMA survey taken after Malaga worlds. (I got it from Masters Mole 3443b.) In my summary, I estimated that 115 people took part, which I called an “atrocious” 1.4 percent participation rate. But WMA revealed Tuesday that “over 500” answered the survey. So it’s only a pathetic 6.2 percent response rate. My apologies. (Yet a new page 2 of the survey response says 14.6 percent of 8,191 athletes “responded the survey.” That equates to close to 1,200. Go figure.) Anyway: WMA cherrypicks — and bats away — two complaints: locations and…


USATF racing clock to inform world-classers of potential $2,000 Toruń travel grants, prize money

It’s only taken 50 years, but USA masters athletes are finally getting serious financial help from their governing body. As told in my deep-dive story for Times of San Diego, more than 300 eligible Americans as old as 103 can claim up to $1,000 for travel to Toruń worlds this March, and they can bring home up to an additional $1,000 for medals — $400 for gold, $200 for silver and $100 for bronze. Relay team members, too. The overall budget is $125,000, including $25,000 pledged by a mystery donor. I contacted masters national chair Rex Harvey and a dozen…


52-year-old Puerto Rican wrongly credited with major WRs — sub-50 for 400 meters, sub-22 for 200

A few days ago, I was alerted to previously unnoticed world records in the M50 200 and 400. At least that’s what IAAF and mastersrankings.com suggested. Both sites had 52-year-old Puerto Rico Olympian Edgardo Guilbe running incredible times in 2018 — a 200 in 21.95 and a 400 in 49.68. (Plus a sizzling 11.10 for the 100.) The listed WRs are Willie Gault’s 22.44 and Roland Gröger’s 50.73. So I started poking around — posting to the Track & Field News message board and writing the Puerto Rican athletics governing body. Soon the truth emerged. Edgardo’s son was the sub-50…


Special Report: John Seto’s mastersrankings.com raised $244,000 in 3 years, still got USATF grants

An argument can be made that John Seto has done more to turbocharge masters track than anyone since David Pain ran his Johnny Appleseed track tours of Europe and Oceania in the 1970s and Al Sheahen spotlighted the sport via National Masters News. After growing his site, mastersrankings.com, for a decade, John won our highest honor a year ago — induction into the USATF Masters Hall of Fame. John wasn’t coy about his commitment, saying he worked 10-12 hours a day. He wasn’t shy about asking for donations, either. And in July 2015, he won nonprofit OK from the IRS….


Malaga relay mess yields new Team USA selection procedures (but Net savvy is mandatory)

At the Columbus annual meeting, members of the Masters Track & Field Committee debated the relay selection process — an effort to avoid another Malaga mess. The result is a wag-the-dog statement that justifies the use of M70 Charles Allie in the M65 4×100 in defiance of then rules. For the first time, USATF masters’ relay goal is “is to win as many relays as possible. The secondary goal is to involve as many Team USATF Masters athlete applicants as possible in the relays.” Hoookay. The old rules suggested that staying in your age group was Job One: “The TSC…


National Masters Chair Rex Harvey: Medals were goal of Malaga relay selections

It goes without saying that the goal of USATF masters is winning as many medals at possible at worlds. But was a decision to move Charlie Allie down from the M70 4×100 to the M65 team in Malaga the most efficient course? I’ll let others debate that. For now, I’ll pass along the first response I’ve gotten from USATF National Masters Chair Rex Harvey since posting the Roger Pierce complaint nearly a week ago. Rex graciously writes: Please make it known to your readers that, while he does more work than any of the rest of us, volunteer Phil Greenwald…


Were steeple barriers at Malaga safe to step on? Canadian M75 racer ended up bloodied

American M75 middle-distancer Ev “Doc” Murdock was eighth in the 2K steeple at Malaga, but he sent me photos of the fifth-placer — Vern Christensen of Canada. Vern is shown at the finish holding his bloody forehead. Ouch! What happened? Doc explains: Has anyone mentioned to you that the steeplechase barriers were not coated with the usual nonslip surface? Instead, they were painted with high-gloss paint. As a result, they were amazingly slippery as soon as they got wet. Those of us who normally step on the barriers as part of our technique for jumping over them slipped. Several of…


Nominate masters for USATF awards by Friday — if link comes back from dead

The USATF Masters Awards panel, chaired by W40 Malaga worlds hep champion Rachel Guest, is doing a good thing — using our official USATF masters site to invite nominations for annual awards. But not so good — you can’t nominate someone. The specified page says: “Sorry, this nomination form is not available.” That’s an easy fix (I hope). But the deadline is Friday. “After the October 5th deadline, the USATF Masters Awards Sub-Committee will review all nominations,” the announcement page says. “The committee will review all performance factors prior to voting. All awards winners will be announced at the USATF…


Florida M65 thrower rips Malaga facilities in letter to WMA President Margit Jungmann

Guy Dirkin of Florida had a good Malaga. As an M65 thrower, competing for Britain, he won silver in the hammer and was 23 points away from bronze in the throws pentathlon. But he wasn’t happy with the facilities and let the new WMA president know in a letter I obtained. “Dear Margit,” he wrote Germany’s Margit Jungmann, the newly elected leader. “Please find attached a letter to you regarding the WMA’s managerial performance at the recent Malaga World Championships and past Championships. This correspondence has been provoked by multiple participant complaints, primarily around facilities. The scope of this letter restricts coverage to…