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Eighty-one-year-old Irene Obera breaks World and American age records on first day of USATF Masters Indoor Champs

WINSTON-SALEM, North Carolina – The USA Track & Field Masters Indoor Championships opened Friday on the first day of Spring with a bolt of lightning at JDL Fast Track in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Eighty-one-year old Irene Obera broke existing World and American records, and three other competitors broke U.S. marks. All American and world records reported are pending until ratified.
Obera (Fremont, California) set a W80 World Masters Record as the first ever woman over 80 completing an indoor pentathlon with a combined total of 3,817 points. Despite a misstep over the opening obstacle in the 60-meter hurdles, she recovered with American records in the next two events (marks in multi-events count for individual records as well), clearing 1.02m/3-4 in high jump and leaping 2.72m/8-11.25. Obera’s 6.97m/22-10.5 shot put was the farthest of any female multi-competitor of the day, and she finished the pentathlon’s final event, the 800m, with a time of 5:10.03. Obera, no stranger to record-breaking performances, set a career seventh AR and eighth WR.
Also with a strong combined events performance was Anne Sluder (Pineville, North Carolina), posting 3,531 points in W40-44 pentathlon. Sluder went up and over 1.59m/5-2.5 in high jump and landed 4.79m/15-8.75 in long jump, and she followed an 8.29m/27-2.5 shot put with a 2:46.33 800m.
In distance events, Sonja Friend-Uhl (Brentwood, Tennessee) clocked 9:50.60 in the 3,000m for a new W40-44 AR. Coming around the final curve with only 10 seconds to match the current record, Friend-Uhl’s powerful kick brought fans to their feet and the 43-year-old a top American indoor time.
John Poche (Lake Charles, Louisiana) highlighted field events when he took down the American M85 weight throw record of 10.14m/33-3 with his toss of 10.41m/34-2.
Another highlight of the day was Ben James (Rochester, New York) in the M55 400m, winning the overall title in 57.48, just a year after beating cancer.
Click here for complete results:
For highlights from the 2015 USATF Masters Indoor Championships, visit USATF.TV for on-demand videos.

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