Nonagenarian Philipp Frech who lives in St James for half the year and in his home town of Cologne, Germany, for the other half says that partaking in sport is medicine for mind, body and soul.
A sporting person throughout his life, it was only after he retired at the age of 68 that he focused on athletics and began to train seriously. Two years later at the age of 70 he became the German Masters Discus Champion, at 71 he was a gold medalist at the European Masters championships and at 73 won Gold at the World Masters Championships in Japan. He also did his first pole vault at the age of 71! Although his speciality is discus, he also has taken part in decathlons and pentathlons. He looks forward to the European Championships in Hungary this year and the World Championships in California in 2011. He is proud of his 11 kilograms of medals that he has earned, including 14 gold medals from South African Championships.
Taking part in sport, he says, is essential for living a long and healthy life. Philipp believes movement helps the whole body, enhancing concentration, creativity and mental health at the same time. He also believes in the social benefits of participating in sport and has experienced how sport breaks down cultural barriers.
It is Philipp’s firm belief that it is a mistake to “do nothing after retiring” and he lives up to his beliefs. Apart from his regular swim in the sea, his athletics training and his ½- 1 hour exercising every morning his other hobbies are cooking and scouring auctions for collectibles with which he has furnished and decorated his flat. A lover of classical music he is also an ardent reader.
Philipp considers himself to be a blessed man living as he does in St James. “St James is paradise”, he says, “the nicest place in the world! The friendliness of South Africans is also incomparable”. Well, Philipp, we are glad to have you here and wish you continued good health and much happiness!