Mr.Masao Sono

WORLD MASTERS GAMES (WMG) was the final piece to my puzzle

What made you decide to participate WMG?

I was really drawn in by their catchphrase “the adult Olympics,” so I decided to participate.
I got into track and field thanks to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Seeing those games in that giant stadium at 10 years old moved something inside me. Since then, I’ve continued to train and compete throughout my life, holding onto my dream of getting a gold medal at the Olympics. There was a lot of tough competition in my generation though, so I never was able to make it to the Olympics.

Later, I had the opportunity to participate an international competition and was lucky enough to receive a medal, but it just didn’t fill me with the sense of accomplishment I was looking for. WMG took me back to my dream of participating in the Olympics and fueled my passion for track and field.

What was your impression after actually participating in WMG?

I was in absolute awe at the opening ceremony. Competitors from the world over standing on equal ground celebrating each other. I couldn’t have been prouder to stand together with such fine athletes.
The opening ceremony of WMG showed me there was more-I finally found a goal to succeed my Olympic dream.
By the way, the opening ceremony was held at night and my race happened to be the next morning. I considered leaving early to prepare for my race but, I ended up staying until the end.
After I got back from the ceremony, I couldn’t sleep. I was just too excited. Even with a lack of sleep and being a bundle of nerves, I was able to get the gold medal in the 10-kilometer marathon.

What has changed since you participated in WMG and received a gold medal?

People from companies watching the competition saw me get a gold medal in the race and offered to sponsor me. I can’t really think of any other athletes who’ve been sponsored at 65 years old.
Not only that but, thanks to participating in WMG, I was able to make friends from all over the world. All the messages written on that flag by everyone I met at the event are an everlasting sign of our friendship. If I had gone to the Olympics, I’m sure other athletes and I would have just viewed each other as rivals rather than friends.

What is your advice for continuing sports as you get older?

The best advice I can give is simple— “Keep going.” Don’t force too many types of training on yourself and just keep doing what you can at a comfortable pace. I’m in the best condition I’ve ever been right now. Through steady and continuous training, I’ve gained and maintained the most muscle mass I’ve ever had until now.
Training for WMG is what keeps me motivated. I thought I would grow weaker and lose muscle mass with age but, I’ve experienced that anyone can surpass their limit if they put their mind to it.

What would you like to say to those considering participating in WORLD MASTERS GAMES (WMG) 2021 KANSAI?

WMG is one of those events you just don’t get until you actually participate. I don’t want people to regret missing the chance to compete. And if you do decide to participate, make sure you get to enjoy the ceremonies and talking with fellow athletes. You won’t have time to enjoy the atmosphere of the competition once you’re in the thick of it.

What I want to say more than anything is that, sports aren’t something you do for just a set period of time. Even if you quit once, you can start again. Don’t worry about how young or old you are, just do it for you.

I believe I’m the positive and forward-thinking person I am today because I became a runner. I’ve been able to enjoy life to the fullest because of running and I intend to continue running forever. I want to express the wonder of life through running and I can only hope that others will experience the joy running brings through watching me.