NAGEEN SINGH BAL - INDIA
Nageen Singh Bal is a school principal, math teacher and long-distance runner. He left from India's Panjaab region to experience his first international athletics event in Tampere and compete in the WMA 5/10 thousand meter races. At 56, he hopes to inspire his compatriots and envisions a new India that gravitates around sport and its many beneficial effects.
MARTINE CLOUTIER-LEBLANC - CANADA
Martine Cloutier-LeBlanc is a sprinter who grew up in Quebec and then moved to San Antonio, Texas, where she currently works as a consultant. Athletics has always played a pivotal, or rather, all-encompassing role in the life of this 41-year-old who, after a consistent international career, is continuing to represent Canada in the Masters world and to find in sprinting a happy oasis.
PEI-JUNG HUANG - TAIWAN
Pei-Jung Huang is an R&D manager and rookie decathlete. Setting out on his own from faraway Taiwan to Tampere, this placid 48-year-old with a PhD in aeronautical engineering and a past as a hurdler wants to change, through example, the sports mindset of his country.
EVELIN ORTIZ - CHILE
Evelyn Ortiz is a physical education teacher and runs both the 400 and 800 meters. She left her Chile for a few days to compete on Finnish tracks. In the mind of this 39-year-old educator from Santiago, athletics is a fundamental tool for celebrating and empowering women.
BARRY FERGUSON - UK
Barry Ferguson is an 80-year-old British sprinter and hurdler. Born in Jamaica and settled in London, Barry rediscovered athletics after a long period of inactivity and has been competing in World Masters Athletics for decades. His wry wisdom in these sports environments qualifies him as an athlete and, simultaneously, a mentor.
JODY SHEPARD - USA
Jody Shepard is a 36-year-old U.S. hurdler. Jody came to Tampere from Louisiana to compete in the 110 and 400 meters, managing to become world champion in the most complex and competitive category of the WMAs. In the mind of this former collegiate athlete, true victory lies not in the gold medal, but in the ability to find both on the track and in mid-air his own place of peace.
ELIN BJERRE - SWEDEN
Elin Bjerre is a Swedish sprinter and in World Masters Athletics competes in the 35-40 year old category. She’s a mother and former top football player. Athletics only became part of her life a few months ago and immediately led her to the tracks of Tampere, where she was able to show her young sons the priceless value of defeat during the first competition, before winning the relay race with her Swedish teammates (taking also the European record).
MICHAEL KIELY - IRELAND
Michael Kiely is a 77-year-old multifaceted Irish runner. He has hit the Tampere tracks with his daughter Mary, who watches and supports her father-athlete in various middle-distance specialties. For this gracious gentleman, running represents a vital and happy chapter of life that he’s fortunately able to share with his loved ones.
IVAN GONZALO ORTIZ - PUERTO RICO
Ivan Gonzalo Ortiz is a 76-year-old sprinter from Puerto Rico. He reached the WMA tracks in Tampere accompanied by his younger brother and many compatriots who treat him and his Caribbean wit with respectful reverence. Ivan runs the 100 and 200 meters with only one goal: to pay tribute to and pass on the memory of his lamented father.
ROGER REINOLD - SWEDEN
Roger Reinhold is a Swedish middle distance runner in the 800 and 1500 meters. For this Scandinavian athlete, Tampere is an atypical and nearby tourist destination, but it is above all a place of positive competition. It was precisely the competitive spirit that led Roger to change his habits late in life, prompting him to run around the world and ward off worrisome weight problems.