Three years after a pace-maker operation Hawke's Bay's Jimmy Lim won a fourth national masters badminton 70-plus singles title in North Harbour at the weekend.
One of six Bay players at the tournament Meeanee's Lim, 78, beat Aucklander Bob Adams 21-16, 21-14 in his final.
"I didn't enter in the doubles or the mixed doubles because if I collapsed I would be letting my partners down. At least if I collapsed in the singles I would only be letting myself down," Lim explained.
Lim had his operation in Auckland in June, 2009. At the time of the procedure Lim made sure the medical team knew he was an international masters right-handed player and the site for the pace-maker had to be decided with that in mind.
"At the time I wasn't feeling terribly positive that I would be able to achieve what I did at the weekend and as my progress continued I was even less positive. But after a time, and with lots of encouragement from friends, family and medical staff I began to feel more confident that I could play well again.
"I did my exercises religiously to strengthen my muscles, I went walking regularly," Lim explained.
He recalled his 2009 world masters tournament three months after his operation. Lim was in considerable pain but still won gold in the 70-plus singles, silver in the 70-plus mixed doubles with wife Nellie and bronze in the 65plus doubles.
His path to title glory at the weekend was made easier when two of the original five entrants withdrew.
"A long-time national referee who I know well told me I scared them off," Lim said with a laugh.
"Having two less matches was an ideal form of consolation for the fact I was giving away eight years against some of my opponents. You don't have the same power and speed as players eight years your junior," Lim explained.
"Obviously I'm eligible for the 75-plus age group but there wasn't enough numbers for that age group."
As part of his build-up for the nationals Lim played in a Kuala Lumpur-hosted tournament in July. He played against the top seed and eventual champion from China and was beaten 15-12, 15-9.
"I thought to myself it wasn't too bad after three years of trying to get myself better to compete again. The plan now is to continue to build my strength up so I can do better against that China champion next time," Lim said.
Lim said the title was the result of pressure he put on himself because he wanted to show the junior players he coached what he could achieve against the odds.
Lim's Meeanee clubmate Vaughan Coley celebrated his 51st birthday by winning the 50-plus men's doubles title with Wellington North player Grant Demanach. Coley also reached the semifinals of the 50-plus mixed doubles with Hawke's Bay's June Crawford.
Hawke's Bay's top masters player Croydon Rutherford played with Wellingtonian Dean Galt, in the 35-plus men's doubles and reached the final where they lost in straight sets.
Rutherford also reached the semifinals in the 35-plus mixed doubles.