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Fuqua takes gold medal

By By Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
Battling calf and knee injuries wasn’t enough to keep Hartselle’s Jim Fuqua from a golden performance at the 2009 Summer National Senior Games in the San Fransico area recently.
Fuqua, a former professional baseball player and retired insurance agent, won the gold medal in the Men’s 55 javelin competition at the 2009 Senior Games.
The competition, for athletes 50 and over, featured 10,000 registered competitors and required the help of 2,000 volunteers who worked more than 5,700 shifts.
The 17 sports at the 2009 Summer National Senior Games included swimming, tennis, soccer, track and field, basketball, table tennis, water polo and volleyball.
Fuqua won his age group with a throw of 176 feet and two inches at Stanford University’s Cobb Track.
Fred Jessee of California was second with a best throw of 153 feet and one inch.
Facing possible knee replacement surgery, Fuqua nearly didn’t make the trip to the Senior Games. Coupled with injuries to his calf and rib cage, Fuqua was unsure if he could compete on the national level. He quickly put those worries aside after coming within three inches of a new record.
The men’s 55 age group in the javelin featured 24 competitors from 15 different states.
Isiah Ford, also from Alabama, finished 21st overall after finishing with a best distance of 82 feet, 10 inches.
The olympic-style competition featured a world record in the women’s pole vault competition and 50 track and field records.
The swimming competition featured 85 records.
A highlight of the Senior Games was Flo Meiler’s world record performance in the women’s 75-79 pole vault. Meiler, of Shelburne, Vt., cleared six feet, six inches to win a gold medal.
During the two-week competition period, Fuqua was able to meet Alex Tarics, who at 95 is the world’s oldest living Olympian. Tarics was a member of the 1936 Berlin gold medal Hungarian water polo team.
The 2011 Summer National Senior Games will be held in Houston, Texas.