Toronto’s Karla Del Grande, a 67-year-old sprinter with multiple masters world records to her name, has been named the Female Athlete of the Decade (2010 to 2019) by World Masters Athletics (WMA). Nominated alongside five other women who have run, jumped and thrown their way into the WMA record books, Del Grande was selected as the best of them all, adding yet another accolade to her already lengthy resume.
— Michal Kapral (@mkapral) March 23, 2017
As outlined on the WMA website, to be nominated for the Athlete of the Decade awards, athletes had to have broken a WMA record and won a WMA Championship in at least two different age groups in the previous decade. Del Grande checked these boxes many times over, as she set a whopping nine world records (five outdoor, four indoor) between 2010 and 2019 and won multiple gold medals at the world championships.
Competing outdoors in the 2010s, Del Grande set the 100m and 200m world records in the W60 and W65 categories, and she added a W65 400m world best as well. Indoors, she ran to 60m (W60), 200m (W60 and W65) and 400m (W65) world records.
Additionally, Del Grande owns an incredible 17 Canadian indoor masters records and 12 national outdoor records, some of which date back to the early 2000s when, at the age of 49, she first began competing in masters athletics.
This is not the first time Del Grande has been honoured as a masters athlete. In 2018 and 2019, the WMA named her the Female Sprint Athlete of the Year, and again in 2019, the NCCMA (North American, Central American and Caribbean Masters Athletics) gave her overall Female Athlete of the Year honours. She has also been inducted into the Ontario and Canadian Masters Athletics Halls of Fame.
At 67, Del Grande still has a few years left in the W65 division to better her own world records, and while the 2020s have only just started, it shouldn’t be a surprise if she’s nominated for Athlete of the Decade once again come 2030.