Thomas Kok, principal of Ipoh Learning & Training Institute, Ipoh, competed in the 70-74 age-group, winning three gold medals in 1500m, 3000m and 5000m race walk events at the 2018 Penang Asia Pacific Masters Games (APMG) recently. Another outstanding Malaysian master athlete (Ipohite) was Rita Thong (45-49 age-group) also won three gold medals in triple jump, 80m hurdles, 4x100m and a sliver in long jump.
In the medal tally, India emerged champions with 76 gold; second Malaysia – 67 gold; third Russia – 50 gold; fourth Japan – 31 gold; and fifth Hong Kong – 28 gold medals.
Penang was the first country in the world to organise the multi-sport APMG, featuring 21 sports played in various venues over nine days involving more than 5564 athletes from 64 countries.
The organisation of APMG was similar to the World Masters Games (WMG), which is held once every four years. It is a festival of sports for participants aged 30 and above, with no qualifying or selection process involved. Athletes compete in their own age groups and categories – competitive, recreation and fun. In essence, MG is for everyone – regardless if you are a serious competitor or joining for fun. The tagline of APMG 2018 was “Beyond the Games” – the 2017 Auckland WMG was “Sports for All”.
The Master Games provide a platform and an avenue for master athletes an opportunity to foster friendship, goodwill and a chance to challenge themselves to either improve or maintain their performances as they age.
The next World Masters Games will be held in Kansai in 2021.