(Reuters) – Spaniard Jesus Angel Garcia will make a record 13th appearance at the world championships that begin in Doha this week and the 49-year-old said on Monday he had a full battery ahead of the 50-km race walk.
Garcia, who won gold at his first worlds in Stuttgart in 1993, has claimed three silver medals since, with his last coming in 2009 — at the same Berlin meeting where Jamaica’s Usain Bolt set the long-standing 100m world record.
Back in 1993, the likes of Linford Christie (100m) and Michael Johnson (400m) ruled the roost and though they have long since retired, Garcia still finds a way to motivate himself to compete a month shy of his 50th birthday.
“The motivation is like a battery,” Garcia, who is targeting the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, told Reuters. “You have the battery full of energy, it is no problem.
“This is the secret, you have a full battery, the heart will be matching, it’s no problem. It is only in the brain, no more.
“To try to compete in my eighth Olympics will round up my athletics career in a definitive way. This is the point that I want to reach… That’s my motivation and Doha is a chance to get to the Games in Tokyo.”
If Garcia qualifies for the Games, he will be the first track and field athlete to compete at eight different Olympics after making his debut in Barcelona in 1992.
“I would never have ever thought that at 50 years of age I would still be competing, thinking that I could go to another Olympics in the coming year if I can get a good result at this world championships. Never,” Garcia added.
“But with life you never know what surprises it has in store. For me, now I am dreaming to finish in August 2020 in Tokyo.”
(Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; editing by Ken Ferris)