Records tumble for rowing champ
You're only as old as you feel. That's been the case for 70-year-old Annette Fletcher who has just broken all four New Zealand records in her indoor rowing age group at the South Island Masters Games in Timaru.
Mrs Fletcher added the new benchmark times in the 100m, 500m, 1000m and 2000m races on October 13.
"It was me against the clock and I was going for the record books," she says.
"We used to have a lot of entries in the Masters, but it's whittled down so I was the only competitor for my age group in the rowing."
Mrs Fletcher also pulled her weight to pick up gold in the indoor triathlon event, consisting of 10 minutes rowing, 10 minutes exercycling and 10 minutes on the treadmill.
Mrs Fletcher has lived in Laingholm for 40 years and has spent 12 of those on the rowing machine.
The jewel in her crown was her silver medal for the 60s age group in the World Indoor Rowing Championships in Boston, United States, in 2002 but she says the athlete label hasn't always stuck with her.
"My daughter was a swimmer but I never really did anything sport-like.
"It wasn't until she got older and left home that I decided it was time to do something for myself," she says.
Mrs Fletcher gained extra motivation for the South Island event after her sister Glenys died last month. She says it helped spur her on.
Her husband, Gordon, is also full of activity. He's had an illustrious five-decade career as a weightlifter and powerlifter and holds the world record of 16.4 seconds for the 100m sprint in his 70s age group.
He's been spending his spare time as his wife's weights coach.
"She's done absolutely outstandingly, the 2000m record in particular was brilliant.
"It took a tremendous amount of aerobic work for her to get that time," Mr Fletcher says.
Mrs Fletcher still trains for at least an hour every day and there are no signs of this super grandma slowing down.
She's already looking ahead to the next Masters Games in Whanganui in February.
"It's tough to do.
"But sometimes you've just got to make your mind up and go for it," she says.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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