Pit­cairn be­comes old­est ath­lete to de­but at Games

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Senior -

ROBERT Pit­cairn has flown in the mil­i­tary and foiled a po­ten­tial hi­jacker on a com­mer­cial flight. So tar­get­ing a record as the old­est com­peti­tor to de­but at the Com­mon­wealth Games hasn’t been too daunt­ing.

The 79-year-old Cana­dian made his de­but last week in the Queen’s Prize Pairs Fi­nals in the full bore shoot­ing com­pe­ti­tion. He and team­mate Ni­cole Ros­sig­nol were placed ninth af­ter the first day of the fi­nal.

At 79 years and nine months old, he broke the record pre­vi­ously held by Eng­land’s Doreen Flan­ders, who took part in lawn bowls at Glas­gow in 2014 a few weeks af­ter her 79th birth­day.

“I’m very grate­ful to be here,” said Pit­cairn, who re­tired as a pilot in 1988 fol­low­ing a ca­reer that started when he joined the Royal Cana­dian Air Force three decades ear­lier.

“This is my last big pin­na­cle to solve in my shoot­ing ca­reer and I’m go­ing to solve that rid­dle this week.”

He’s un­likely to get too flus­tered by com­pe­ti­tion, hav­ing a his­tory of be­ing cool-headed.

Pit­cairn’s story has gen­er­ated plenty of at­ten­tion on the Gold Coast, par­tic­u­larly a flight in 1974. As he re­counts it, a pas­sen­ger on a flight be­tween Win­nipeg and Ed­mon­ton at­tacked an air host­ess with a knife and de­manded he be flown to Cyprus.

“Ul­ti­mately, I talked him in to go­ing to Saska­toon, Saskatchewan, and by the time we landed he’d cooled down quite a bit and I was able to talk him out of the hi­jack­ing.”

He prefers to turn at­ten­tion to the games, where his aim is to win a medal.

“My hopes in the event are pretty sim­ple – podium, that’s it,” he said. “I’m go­ing home and I’m go­ing to walk off the podium a very happy man.”

Re­gard­less of re­sults, he’ll leave a mark on the games for the age of his de­but. He only dis­cov­ered the de­tail when his son was re­search­ing on­line and told him, “Hey Dad you’re go­ing to be the old­est.”

“But it doesn’t mat­ter, I’m proud of it for the sense I’d like to say that older peo­ple lis­ten­ing in on this you too can have op­por­tu­ni­ties to do this if you put your mind to it,” Pit­cairn said. “Train for it and train your body to be good, you’ll have suc­cess.” – AP

Canada’s Pit­cairn com­pete in the Queen’s prize pairs shoot­ing fi­nal at the Com­mon­wealth Games. — AFP

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