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Age is just a number for 83-year-old Argentine tennis player

Ana Obarrio de Pereyra Iraola won the Argentina Senior Masters in the 80-plus category.

News 09 Jan 2017, 13:04 IST
83-year-old Ana Obarrio in action during a tennis match in Buenos Aires (Image credits: AFP)

What’s the story?

Ana Obarrio de Pereyra Iraola went back to pursue her dream of playing competitive tennis at the ripe old age of eighty-three. Back in 1949, her dream of becoming a tennis star was halted by her husband and subsequently she dedicated the next twenty years of her life bringing up her ten children.

"My husband didn't like me playing mixed doubles with men... I didn't play again after that," she recalls. "I don't regret it. I would do the same again. My first joy is my children. Tennis comes next."

But today, at the age of eighty, she emerged as the winner of the Argentina Senior Masters in the 80-plus category and revived her dream. Speaking to AFP on the sidelines of Hurlingham Sports Club in Buenos Aires, she was quoted as saying, "I like to compete. I like to win."

In case you didn’t know... 

Obarrio's love affair with tennis started at a young age, and she even finished as a youth champion. However, after she met her husband at the age of 18, social norms prevalent in the 1940s barred her from continuing her playing career, and she gave up the opportunity to compete in major international tournaments. 

In her 40s, she went back to the sport, indulging in matches with her friends. But, it was only in her 60s that she seriously started competing again post her husband’s death. 

Also read: Meet Man Kaur: The 100-year old who just won three gold medals for India at the Americas Games

Today, she trains thrice a week on a private family court built specially for her at her country estate. She sports 1950s-style flat-soled white canvas shoes and stylised shorts that allow her to relive her youth playing days.

Argentina ranks as one of the highest in the tally for competitive players in the senior category with more than 1000 players.

As for Obarrio, her next challenge awaits at the seniors’ world championships in Florida.

The heart of the matter

83-year-old Argentine grandmother Ana Obarrio de Pereyra Iraola won the seniors’ category of the Argentine Masters on the Hurlingham clay after defeating her 80-year-old rival in an hour-long final encounter. 

Ranked third in her country amongst the seniors in her age group, Obarrio pursues competitive tennis at an age where most wouldn’t even dream of taking up any kind of sport.

Sportskeeda’s take

It is heartening and inspirational to see someone competing professionally at an age where most would restrict themselves to their comfortable surroundings. This story runs parallel to that of Fauja Singh, the centenarian, who is believed to be the oldest runner in the world.

This is a testament to the fact that it’s never too late to pursue your dream, whatever it may be, for if one can play tennis at the age of eighty-three, one can do just about anything. 

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