LOCAL SENIOR OLYMPIC ATHLETE TO COMPETE IN HAWAI’I SENIOR OLYMPICS
Local Senior Olympic athlete John Wasko will be competing next week in the Hawaii Senior Olympics which begins at the age of 50 and goes into increments of 5 for each age group. WasKo will be in the 65 to 69 group. He will be competing in the sport of Track & Field, running in 200 meters, 400 meters and possibly the 800 meter runs.
“I will not be competing in an open field, but against other men in my age group. The Hawaii Senior Olympics is a qualifier for the US National Senior Olympic finals,” said Wasko. “At these events, what is nice about Hawaii is their are a lot of retired of military people there that like to stay in very good condition. So the competition is great there, with an extremely friendly atmosphere there,” he explained.
According to Wasko, the meets will be held at the University of Hawai’i track in Manoa.
“What we are looking to do is, to achieve one of the qualifying times for the national event and because it is a sanctioned meet with sanctioned officials, whatever time you run there, it will then be measured against the national standards. So that is what one of the goals is that we are shooting for, to qualify for the nationals,” said Wasko.
He stated that on a broader level, Senior track and field is more of a fun event and it's about everyone’s personal commitment to stay fit. He said that there is a real camaraderie at these events.
“You see men and women in their 70s, 60s, 80s and even in their 90s and one thing that they all have in common, is a personal commitment to health and fitness.”
Talking about American Samoa, he said that one of the things he would like to do here is to demonstrate to everyone here that fitness is something that can be practiced on a daily basis and you do not have to become a Senior Olympic athlete to do it.
“But one does have to discipline themselves with proper eating habits and proper exercises habits. If we achieve that goal to inspire some people to be more active, they can live a longer more productive healthier lifestyle. Being a participant in the Senior Olympics, has many benefits, not just personally, but for our territory and that is to indicate and show the people that fitness is achievable and it is not something just for only a certain few. It is just a matter of taking the time and will of going out someplace to just walk, jog or run,” he explained.
He said if he can inspire people to do these things, that he has made a mark on a serious problem here in American Samoa and that is the problem of obesity and being overweight, which leads to health complications which can lead to lead end of life consequences.
“It is not the results of the race that count, but maintaining a healthy lifestyle,” he said.
According to the Hawai’i Senior Olympics website, hawaii.fusesport.com, the Hawai’i Senior Olympics is a multi-sport event for men and women 50 years of age and older, no matter where they reside (many events are open to younger persons as well). The Hawai’i games are sanctioned by the National Senior Games Association (NSGA), which also organizes the National Senior Games presented by Humana.
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