World records rise and fall at Senior Games

It’s often stated in the literature and regurgitated by officials that times, results and statistics aren’t the focus at the 20th annual Pasadena Senior Games.

While the adage holds true for the most part, there are exceptions — like world records.

On Sunday, two weightlifting records fell, according to Games’ organizers.

Torrance resident Joel DiMarco set a world record by bench-pressing 245 pounds at the age of 81, while Rosemead resident Ruth Saenz is now the record holder at 80 years of age in the women’s bench press with a lift of 70 pounds.

“I could have done more, but I’ll save a little for next year,” said DiMarco, who only took two of his three allotted attempts.

DiMarco entered having set the 80-year-old world record of 255 pounds in a gold-winning effort at last season’s games.

This year, back at Sneiders Family Fitness in Arcadia, DiMarco hit 245 and said he didn’t feel the need to keep going after setting the world record.

DiMarco, a former amateur wrestler, said he first got involved in weightlifting in 1945 at the age of 15 and worked with legends such as former Chicago Bears Hall of Famer Bronko Nagurski, wrestler Killer Kowalski and Alan Stephen, Mr. America from 1946.

As for Saenz, the 83-year-old was pleasantly surprised when she found out she set a world record.

“When they told me I was the record holder, I couldn’t believe it,” Saenz said. “I’ve always been called very strong and I know I’m strong, but I thought that there has to be another lady at my age who does what I do better.”

The competition was one of two for Saenz, who was penciled into Saturday’s push-up competition, one that Saenz won last season in her age range with 30 push-ups.

Four Pasadena residents claimed wins in other bench press competitions led by Andrew Harvey, who set a world record last year at 50 with a lift of 435 pounds, as he claimed the gold in the heavyweight 50-54 bracket with a weight of 415 pounds.

Pasadena’s Loren McClung won the men’s 55-59 age range in the heavyweight division with a lift of 305 pounds, Robin Connelly (65-69) took the heavyweight title at 220 pounds and Arline Connelly clinched the women’s middleweight title (65-69) with 100 pounds.

In other competition, Ted Fager and Nils Bjerg stood out most out in Saturday’s singles bowling competition at Arcadia Bowling Square.

Fager won the 60-64 age range with a scratch score of 543, while Bjerg romped in the 80-84 range in totaling a 539. No other competitor combined for better than a 500.

On the women’s side, Lisa Sudbrink won the 50-54 age group in bowling a score of 509 and Mel Leach won the gold in the 70-74 range with a 501.

In tennis doubles competitions, the teams of Youshi Berry and Terrie Shimada (female 55-59), Ester Fungladda and Elaine Irving (female 60-64), Andy Chang and Lowell Everman (male 55-59), Phillip Brooks and Thomas Childress (male 60-64), Jessie Harris and David Thomas (male 65-69) and Arthur Altshiller and Lanny Dinesfeld (male 70-74) all earned gold.

In mixed doubles play, Fungladda and Danny Saito (50-54), Darrell Esparza and Maggie McNicoll (55-59), Bill Chin and Terrie Shimada (60-64), Victoria Koerner and Harold Pitt (70-74) and David Folz and Nancy Lyon (75-79) all captured gold.

As for singles action, male champions included Rafael Molina (55-59), Everman (60-64), Mario Ross (65-69), Altshiller (70-74), Shafique Naiyer (75-79), Sid Tyler (80-84) and Aparicio Reynaldo (90-94). Carola Goodman (55-59), Elaine Irving (60-64) and Terri Eggers (70-74) won women’s crowns.

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