More than 1,000 athletes aged 50 and over are competing for medals and glory in the 2017 Sonoma Wine Country Games, a series of 15 sports competitions slated to run through 18 at venues throughout the county.
The Games are a healthy lifestyle program hosted by Council on Aging, with Kaiser Permanente as the principal sponsor.
The athletes are demonstrating their competitive skills in archery, badminton, basketball, bocce, bowling, cycling, golf, lawn bowling, petanque, pickleball, soccer, table tennis, tennis, track and field and volleyball.
Athletes participating are primarily from California, but there are also individuals from Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Two nationally known athletes will be competing in the track and field’s discus throw: Cameron Bolles, 53, of Santa Rosa, and Ralph Fruguglietti, 62, of Bakersfield.
Bolles, 53, is a two-time champion in the discus throw in U.S.A. Track and Field’s 45 to 49 and 50 to 54 age divisions. At the Sonoma Wine Country Games, he hopes to break a record set by four-time Olympic gold medalist Al Oerter of 62.74 meters for the USATF 50 to 54 age group.
Fruguglietti is a six-time world champion while competing in the 50 to 54, 55 to 59 and 60 to 64 age categories (five times at the World Championships in Athletics and once at the World Masters Games). He was named the Masters Throwing Athlete of the Year for 2016 by National Masters News magazine. He will be gunning for four-time Olympian Joe Keshmiri’s American record of 59.52 meters for the USATF’s 60 to 64 age group at the Sonoma Wine Country Games.
The Games’ track and field events are scheduled for Saturday at Santa Rosa High School. The discus competition is expected to begin around 1:30 or 2 p.m.
For more information about the Games, go to www.winecountrygames.com.