Roswell’s Vernon Dyer competes in the race walk event at the 2017 National Senior Games in Birmingham, Alabama Thursday. Vernon took fifth in the 5,000 meter and seventh in the 1,500 meter. (Submitted Photo)
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The 2017 National Senior Games presented by Humana began on June 2 in Birmingham, Alabama. Over 10,500 athletes, 50 years old and over, are competing in 19 medal sports that take place at a variety of venues across the metropolitan area. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the National Senior Games and New Mexico is representing the Land of Enchantment well with 239 athletes.
New Mexican athletes, like Roswell’s Vernon Dyer, are in the Magic City to compete in a variety of sports events from archery to volleyball. Dyer has been competing in the race walk event since 1990 and has ran a total of 35 marathons. In Birmingham, he competed in the 75-79 age group where he finished fifth in 5,000 meter race walk and seventh in the 1,500 meter event.
Another Roswell athlete, Mandy Owens, won the 1,500 meter women’s race walk with a time of 9 minutes, 32.6 seconds, beating out the second-place finisher by about 40 seconds.
“The competition was very good and I had a great time,” Owens said after getting back to Roswell Saturday night. “As of 10 p.m. Friday, New Mexico had won 41 medals and many ribbons from fourth- through eighth-place, and counting.”
“It is great to see these senior athletes compete! It is even greater to watch them socialize and enjoy life,” said Jorja Armijo-Brasher, director of the Albuquerque Department of Senior Affairs.
Albuquerque will be the host city for the 2019 National Senior Games.
“Sports tourism is an incredible opportunity for Albuquerque,” said Mayor Richard Berry. “This is why we have been intentional in the investments we have made to make Albuquerque a perfect destination for this prestigious event. Our city is very excited to open our doors to the athletes, their families and friends as we host the National Senior Games in the summer of 2019.”
The Department of Senior Affairs provides a wide array of services for citizens in the community. For more information regarding the City of Albuquerque’s Department of Senior Affairs and its volunteer programs, contact the Information & Assistance Hotline at 505-764-6400, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The National Senior Games Association (NSGA) is a nonprofit Mutli-Sports Council member of the United States Olympic Committee that promotes health and wellness for adults age 50 and older through education, fitness and sport. NSGA governs the biennial National Senior Games, the largest qualified multi-sport event in the world for seniors. NSGA is comprised of 53 Member Games across the country and in Canada who conduct competitions which serve as qualifying events for the National Senior Games.
For more information and full up-to-date results from the Games, please visit www.NSGA.com.