Risk pool expert finds pool of rewards

Andre Martin, Swiss Re’s Senior Underwriter, Property & Specialty, competed in The World Masters Games held in Sydney from October 10 – 18, 2009, taking home three medals. But it was the “wonderful atmosphere and the original spirit of the Games” that made it an extraordinary experience for Andre, who stays very true to the Olympic spirit that participation is everything.

The World Masters Games are the world's largest multi-sport event, attracting a total of 28,000 sports enthusiasts of all ages - twice as many competitors as the Olympic Games. Participants compete in their age group and Andre swam in four individual and two relay races (35-39 age group). Competing in a field coming from all four corners of the world, including a number of former Olympians and World Record holders, Andre won Silver in the 800m and the 400m freestyle events, and Bronze in the 4x50m freestyle relay.

Andre has been into swimming for most of his life, participating in numerous international meets as a youngster and lately as a “Master” in European and World Championships. However, the Master Games is “something different – a fantastic, fun atmosphere,” says Andre.

It is open to people of all ages and abilities and to participate. People only need to satisfy their sport's minimum age (for the swimming events this is a young 25 years!!). “There were people like me who train on a more or less regular basis and swim the odd competition,” says Andre. “But the beauty of this event is that there’s no qualifying time for registration: anyone is welcome to participate and have fun.”

Among the 2000 swimming competitors were some very impressive personalities: the oldest competitor was a mere 99 years ‘young’ and mastered 4 events. Then there was the return of a 91-year old Canadian champion who repeated her gold medal swims of 71 years earlier during the Empire Games held in Sydney in 1938.

“The motto of the Masters Games is ‘Fit, Fun and Forever Young’ – which really sums it up,” says Andre. “Most people are there to stay fit and improve themselves rather than trying to beat others. There is a real sense of people competing ‘together’ rather than ‘against’ each other.”

The World Masters Games are held every four years and began in Toronto, Canada in 1985. The next Games will be held in Turin, Italy in 2013 – and again everybody is welcome.

November 2009


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