Irena Szewinska dies aged 72

The Polish sprinter and active supporter of Masters Athletics was one of the greatest women athletes of all time, coming to prominence as Irene Kirszenstein when she won more medals than Mary Rand at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. She won a total of seven medals in five Olympics. She took the 200m title in 1968 and the 400m in Montreal in 1976, setting world records to win both titles. She got 10 medals at the European Championships. One of her most famous victories was at the inaugural World Cup in Dusseldorf in 1977 in a long awaited clash with a much younger Marita Koch from the German Democratic R, over 400m winning in 49.52 to 49.76
She was to be seen in the Stand during the European Masters Track & Field Championships in Poznan. A member of the International Olympic Committee and the IAAF Council, I got to know her well at IAAF Women’s Meetings. She received a number of State decorations, including the Order of the White Eagle. We shall miss her.
Bridget Cushen