Sunday, May 08, 2016

93-year-old man delighted after overturning his athletics ban

A record-breaking 93-year-old Italian athlete has been given the green light to take part in competitions once more, two years after he was told he was 'too old' to compete.

Doctors decided to call time on Antonio Nacca's competitive running career in March 2014, shortly after he broke three world records in his age category an indoor athletics championships in Novara, Piedmont. Even though Italian pensioners are famed for their vitality, medics claimed the retired policeman's abnormal cardiac rhythm, a condition known as atrial fibrillation, made competing too dangerous at his age.

But after Nacca spent two years appealing the decision, even finding two independent sports doctors, who deemed him fit to run, Turin's regional athletics commission has said he will be allowed to return to competitions this weekend. Nacca, who has been training hard for his return, has told of his joy at being allowed to take part. “I'm extraodinarily happy. The last two years have been a real paradox, I've still been running to keep fit, but have been unable to compete,” he said.

"It's not as much fun, because you don't get any formal recognition." The competitive pensioner only took up athletics at the age of 56, after spending the majority of his adult life doing no more sport than playing for the police force football team. “I decided to take up athletics after I dropped my daughter off for a race meet one day and noticed that there were people my age doing it,” he told Novarrasport. Shortly before he was forced to stop, Nucca broke records in the over-90 age category, running 800m in 4m 16s, 1500m in 8m 33s and 3,000m in 18m 06s.

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