Main rival was close to home
Two athletes from Busselton and Margaret River went head-to-head at the Oceania Masters Athletics championships in New Zealand recently, with both returning home with medals.
Busselton’s Rob (Tolli) Antoniolli and Margaret River’s Michael Brynne took part in the championships in Dunedin, from January 20- 27, only to find their main competition lived just a short drive away.
Antoniolli won bronze for the 800m on the second day of the competition, recording a faster time than his personal club record.
He was beaten by runner-up Brynne, who was the former vice-captain of the Aquinas College Athletics team, and 800m and 1500m State champion.
Antoniolli also finished fourth in the 60m sprint with a time of 8.99sec., missing out on the bronze by 0.01sec.
It was the first time in 10 years the 66-year-old had run under nine seconds at a championship. He finished third in the 100m, with Bryne following less than 1m behind in both events.
By the time the 200m event came around, only Australians were left in the field. Antoniolli won gold and Brynne took the silver.
With NZ back in the competition for the 400m, Australians finished in the top four, with Antoniolli taking gold and Brynne silver.
Both the 200m and 400m times were the best in six years and were club records.
Antoniolli was able to hold on to his top-five world ranking and said he was happy with his performance at the championships.
“My efforts of four gold, one silver and two bronze will never be repeated as some of the best athletes were missing and younger ones are coming into M65,” he said.
Antoniolli also entered the decathlon but withdrew three weeks before the championships after sustaining a small quad tear from a long jump.
“As long jump is the second event in a decathlon, I did not want to risk the injury as it would mean the end of my competition,” he said.
“In hindsight it proved the correct choice.”
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