Masters athlete Tom Hancock claimed seven gold medals at the National Masters Games.
Masters athlete Tom Hancock claimed seven gold medals at the National Masters Games. Jarrard Potter

Thomas Hancock a master of gold

MASTERS ATHLETICS: At 82, masters athlete Thomas Hancock has lost none of his competitive urges.

Earlier this month he picked up seven gold medals in field events at the National Masters Games, a mere 67 years after he first represented his home state of Victoria in high jump as a 15-year-old.

"I've been going to the National Titles ever since then,” he said. "I won an Australian Universities title in javelin in 1961.”

He said there were more than 5000 athletes competing at the masters titles, with categories rising in five-year steps from the age of 30.

"I compete in the 80-85 category,” he said. "There were actually quite a few in my category this time.”

Hancock said he was most pleased with his result in the throwing pentathlon, where he was the only athlete at the games to break 4000 points.

"My score of 4065 was the best score in all the age groups,” he said.

Despite the competitive juices still flowing strongly, Hancock is also well respected in coaching circles.

"I've coached in three Australian teams at Olympic Games, World Championship and Commonwealth Games,” he said.

"At the Sydney Olympics I coached Andrew Martin, who threw 84m and in 1994 I coached Werner Reiterer who won a gold at Commonwealth Games.”

His coaching career was rewarded a few years ago when he won an OAM for services to that branch of his sport.

"I've coached a lot of kids around here,” he said. "I specialise in field events and my athletes have had a lot of success at the NSW championships.”

He still splits his time between the Clarence Valley and his home state of Victoria.

"I spend half the year here, in the winter,” he said.