Age is just a number, as this 83-year-old Argentine tennis player has proved. Ana Obarrio de Pereyra Iraola was stopped by her husband when she made a mark as a tennis star in 1949.
Many years later now, when she is shackle-free from marriage and responsibilities of the family, she has decided to follow her heart. At 83, this Argentine woman’s bones may have got weak, but not her spirit. She is giving shape to her dream on field holding a tennis racket in hand, wearing canvas shoes and flaunting stylized shorts and T-shirts that remind her of the days of youth.
“I like to compete. I like to win,” Ana spoke from the Hurlingham sports club in Buenos Aires, AFP reported.
Over the last 20 years since her marriage, Ana has given priority to her family. She dedicated her life to raising her 10 children.
Now that she got the opportunities to demonstrate what she is really capable of, Ana with her extraordinary strength clinched the Argentina Senior Masters in the 80-plus category. She prevailed over her 80-year-old rival in the one-hour final.
Ana’s family is by her side always. They acknowledge her passion and love for tennis.
Ana recalled, “My husband didn’t like me playing mixed doubles with men… I didn’t play again after that. I don’t regret it. I would do the same again. My first joy is my children. Tennis comes next.”
Ana said she started playing as a girl and was a champion at a very early age. She met her life partner when she was 18 and at that point she decided to give up the opportunity to play in a major international tournament.
“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,” she added.
When she hit the 40s, she thought of giving it another try and started playing again with friends. Her husband passed away when Ana was in her 60s. Then a serious-than-ever Ana started competing again besides training three times a week on a court that her family built for her at her country estate.
“I put on my shoes and feel the ground of the court,” she says. “It gives me immense pleasure.”
Argentina has about 1,000 competitive players in the seniors category.
Ana has 37 grandchildren. “She is an unusual grandmother,” says one of them, Lupe, 19, after watching her Masters victory.
Ana ranks third in the country in her age group and her next challenge is the seniors’ world championships later in the year in Florida, USA.
We feel it’s just a start of her achievements and there’s many more to come!
Feature Image Credit: AFP
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