Film / News

New local documentary celebrates older female athletes

By Robin Askew  Tuesday Jul 2, 2024

In one neglected corner of the sporting world, getting older means becoming the youngest. How come? Well, in masters competitions older athletes compete in age groups that span five years – 60-64, 65-69, and so on. So each time a competitor moves up a group they become the youngest, which also means they’re more likely to win or break records.

Directed by Bath-based Danielle Sellwood in association with acclaimed Bristol-based photographer Alex Rotas, new documentary Younger – Looking Forward to Getting Older follows four extraordinary women in their sixties, seventies and eighties as they train and compete in national and international athletics competitions.

Joylyn with her medals. Image: Danielle Sellwood

Meet 85-year-old Dorothy, who finds joy in the camaraderie of her ‘gang’; 69-year-old Joylyn, who aspires to continue her athletic journey into her eighties and nineties; 69-year-old Sue, who credits pole vaulting with helping her battle cancer twice; and 74-year-old Noel, who enjoys the technical challenge of race walking.

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Noel and Susan. Image: Danielle Sellwood

For each of these women, masters athletics is more than a sport; it’s a source of community, personal achievement, and a testament to living a life full of adventure and joy. Older people often seem to be excluded from the diversity and inclusion drive, but if you’re looking for a challenge to the familiar portrayal of them as frail, inactive or disempowered, Younger – Looking Forward to Getting Older fits the bill perfectly.

Dot. Image: Danielle Sellwood

The film is screening at the Watershed on July 16 and 17. The 6:10pm screening on Tuesday 16 will be introduced by Danielle Sellwood and Alex Rotas. Go here for tickets.

Main image: Alex Rotas

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