O Christa Bortignon! Canadian claims five W75 indoor world recordsMake some room at the top, Olga Kotelko. We have another Canadian superstar in western Canada. Meet jump specialist and Sacramento world champion Christa Bortignon, a newby W75. She set five indoor world records earlier this month at Kamloops, site of masters worlds two years ago. She set WRs in the 60, 60 hurdles, 200, triple jump and 4×200 relay. Harold Morioka writes: “Having already competed in eight events, Christa was thinking of scratching out of [the 60-meter hurdles] event. However she lined up on the starting line with the younger girls and 13.63 seconds later, Christa had hurdled to another world record, breaking American Flo Meilerâ€™s listed world record of 13.70 seconds.” Even more amazing about Christa: She resumed track after a 55-year break! And a second Canadian claimed another WR: “Lenore Montgomery broke the W80 1500m world record with a time of 8:21.28. The listed world record is 9:12.97 but Lenore has a pending world record time of 8:27.79.”
Here’s what Harold (a rehabbing sprint/hurdles legend in his own right) reported:
VAN RYSWYK INVITATIONAL TRACK AND FIELD MEET
Kamloops, BC February 17-19, 2012
The weather was cold outside but inside the Tournament Capital Centre, on the campus of Thompson Rivers University, the competition was heating up. The hottest competitor was Christa Bortignon who turned 75 just three weeks earlier. Christa amazed the crowd by breaking four individual Indoor World records and then anchored her 4x200m relay team to another world record. A sixth Masters Indoor World record was broken by 81 year-old Lenore Montgomery.
In her first event of the meet, Christa broke the world record in her favourite event, the triple jump. She bettered the listed W75 indoor world record of 7.07 metres by 36 cm, jumping 7.43 metres (24-4 1/2). Christa then sprinted to two more world records in the 60 metre and 200 metre races with times of 10.05 and 35.56 seconds The old records were 10.58 and 37.19 seconds by Italian Emma Mazzenga. Christaâ€™s fourth world record was in the 60m hurdles.
Having already competed in eight events, Christa was thinking of scratching out of this event. However she lined up on the starting line with the younger girls and 13.63 seconds later, Christa had hurdled to another world record, breaking American Flo Meilerâ€™s listed world record of 13.70 seconds.
Lenore Montgomery broke the W80 1500m world record with a time of 8:21.28. The listed world record is 9:12.97 but Lenore has a pending world record time of 8:27.79.
The 4x200m relay team of Klazina Noort (79), Lenore, Ruth Carrier (81) and Christa, set a new W75+ Indoor world record with a time of 3:28.53.
In addition to their world records, Christa and Lenore also set more Canadian records. Christa added Canadian records in the 400m (1:25.90) and Long Jump (3.42m) while Lenore broke the Canadian record in the 800m (4:12.27). Norm Lesage broke his own M80 Canadian record in the 60m with a time of 9.90 seconds (previous record 9.92). Myrtle Acton who turns 80 later this year broke two Canadian W75 records in the Shot Put (7.92m) and Weight Throw (9.52m). Tanya Little broke her own W40 Canadian record in the Weight Throw (9.23m). She does, however, have a pending record of 9.28m.
Christa set her eighth BC record in the High Jump (0.90m). She might have set a new Canadian or possibly even a world record but after only one jump, Christa had to rush to the track to join her team to compete in the 4x200m relay. By the time the relay race was completed, it was too late to continue with her high jump.
Thirty three new BC records were established at the meet. Lynette Baldock set five W65 BC records in the 800m, 1500m, 3000m, long jump and triple jump. Urith Hayley broke W60 records in the 60m and 200m while Susan Endersby broke two records in the W45 triple jump and weight throw. Breaking one BC record each were: Sam Walker M40 400m, Norm Lesage M80 400m, Roy Turkington M60 long jump, Deborah Lee W60 long jump, Margaret Rhebergen W55 pole vault, William Falconer M90 shot put, Zoltan Durgo M50 weight throw and Kathy Brand W65 weight throw.
Two 4x200m relay teams set BC records. Will Harrower (40), Sam Walker (40), Randy Sheldon (40) and Paul Tshinyama (41) set a new M40 record while Larry Chalmers (82), Phil Lefebure (80), Les Robson (84) and Norm Lesage (82) set a new M80 record.
I contacted Christa, and she graciously offered this background and bio:
As a child I participated in all kinds of sports: swimming, gymnastics, track and field. In my 40s I got into tennis which I had to give up in 2009 because of arthritis in both wrists. When I saw a picture of Olga Kotelko (we both live in West Vancouver, British Columbia) in the local paper, I called her up and that got me back into track and field after a 55-year break.
A year later she suggested that I get proper coaching. That is when I joined the Greyhounds Track Club, May 2010, where Harold is the coach. With his guidance and superior coaching skills I made rapid progress on the track. He helped me out on the jumps. But I have not had too much coaching there.
Last year, I won 5 medals in Sacramento: gold for the triple jump, silvers for heptathlon and 100 m, bronzes for long jump and 400 m. I set or broke 24 Canadian records in 13 different events last year (indoor and outdoor), won a total of 60 medals in 2011, 50 of them gold. In September 2011, I competed in Lignano in the European Masters Games in 7 events, and won 7 gold medals.
Since October 2011, I have been training 3 times a week and Harold recommended some weight training to build up my strength, at age 75, I am only 5ft tall, about 102 lbs. I am so happy that I got into this sport because I have made many new friends and am now trying to encourage more seniors to get into track and field and pursue new challenges.