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WMA Indoors Here In 2025? It Could Be A Boom For 'U.S.' Masters.

June 17, 2023 2 min read 8 Comments

WMA Indoors Here In 2025? It Could Be A Boom For 'U.S.' Masters.

Robert Thomas (left) and Jerry Bookin-Weiner had the same vision. Bring the WMA Indoors to U.S. soil for the first time. Photo by Rob Jerome.

 

By Ray Glier

The two men at the top of USA Track & Field Masters had the same big idea when they got together for a phone call in summer, 2022.

Jerry Bookin-Weiner, the Chair of the USATF Masters Track & Field Committee, and Robert Thomas, the Vice Chair, almost simultaneously said to each other, “We need to get the World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships to the U.S.”

It could happen. I think it will happen.

The Bookin-Weiner/Thomas vision could help Masters track & field in the U.S. take a dramatic leap forward, especially in women’s participation, if the bid to host the 2025 games by the Alachua County Sports and Events Center in Gainesville, Fla., is approved by the WMA Council.

The council met last week in Paris to discuss the bid and there does not seem to be another viable 2025 bid on the table.

This is a big deal. The U.S. took 219 athletes to Torun, Poland in March. The cost is prohibitive because Masters athletes pay their own way, or receive a subsidy from USATF, which does not cover all the costs.

But without an ocean to cross the interest here in a world championship event could soar.

Bookin-Weiner thinks more than a 1,000 U.S. masters athletes will enter the WMA Championships in the U.S. in 2025. Just the chance to compete on a world stage, medal or no medal, will be a draw to events around the U.S. leading up to the WMA.

Women’s participation in masters track & field in the U.S. is less than half that of the men and Bookin-Weiner said hosting the WMA indoor event for the first time on U.S. soil should boost female participation. There are empty lanes at women’s events here. Having a shot at a world medal will fill those lanes with American women and likely keep the women enthused for years to 
come.

“Increasing women’s participation is one of our focuses,” Bookin-Weiner said.
One of the women’s track stars, Andrea Collier, posted the video of the Alachua County pitch to the WMA. Watch it here.

Robert Thomas toured the $38 million public/private Alachua County facility, which has a state-of- the-art 200 meter surface with a MONDO track. It’s brand new, a jewel in what is known as Celebration Pointe in Gainesville, home to the University of Florida.

The WMA Council is setting up a site visit, but odds are they will be similarly impressed. The weather in March is glorious and athletes from around the world will be thrilled to see the closest beach less than two hours away.

Alachua County wrapped its arms around the idea and has committed the funds it will take to host the event. The non-stadia events, like the throws, are no problem, either, with the University of Florida’s world-class facilities close by.

USA Track & Field, the governing body, was presented with the idea and did not say, “We’ll think about supporting it,” Bookin-Weiner said. “They said ‘Absolutely we’ll support it’.”

The WMA championships in Gainesville could draw 4,500 athletes, Bookin-Weiner said. More important, it could draw in more of America’s older athletes to an experience they thought they left behind in high school and college.


8 Responses

Bruce Mintz
Bruce Mintz

July 13, 2023

It would be great fo WMA to hold it in the USA. I am from Edmonton Alberta in Canada and have enjoyed competing at numerous USA master indoor and out door championships. If anyone can successfully win the bid I it will be Bob and Jerry.

Gary S
Gary S

June 29, 2023

It would be the only way I would ever see a World Masters Championship in person. It would also be the only time I would visit Florida in my life. Maybe I will do more than watch. Having a new event wanting to be there would be good for Florida.
Kudos on your work so far, Bob and Jerry.

Maryanne Daniel
Maryanne Daniel

June 21, 2023

Holding it the US would give many a taste of a really big competition, done well and celebrating the athletes in the way it has been done in past editions. Having been a part of the outdoor WMA as well as the Indoor, I can attest to the excitement, camaraderie and joy in these competitions. I can see this jumpstarting athletes, especially women, into trying an event(s) in their associations/ regional/National meets, boosting USATF membership numbers. Jerry and Robert have been working hard on this, hope it happens!

Gary Patton
Gary Patton

June 21, 2023

Woohoo!! I could have my whole family there! Thanks for your good work, Jerry and Robert!

Mark Cleary
Mark Cleary

June 20, 2023

The article talks about qualifying events for WMA.There are no qualifying standards for our National Championships or WMA events- therefore there is no such thing as qualifying events leading up to the WMA championships.

RAIBAT BAHADUR DAHAL
RAIBAT BAHADUR DAHAL

June 18, 2023

Its good

Gurbax Sidhu
Gurbax Sidhu

June 18, 2023

It will be a dream come true for lots of USA 🇺🇸 men and women to compete at world stage .

Delrita Bidgette
Delrita Bidgette

June 18, 2023

Yes, that would be great to have this event in Florida. My sister India Bridgette has been participating in the Masters Track and Field for years. I live in Florida so I just might join her.

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