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22ndannualcapital

Centenarian philhellene athlete passes

Brisbane lost one of its most active centenarians, and Greece lost an avid fan, with the death of Ruth Frith, aged 104.

Mrs Frith took up athletics in her 70s and went on to win six gold medals and set six world records at the World Masters Games in Sydney in 2009.

She then went on to win a gold medal in the hammer throw at the Oceania Masters Athletics Championships in 2010. At 102 years old, she became the world's oldest competing athlete.

Ruth Frith had visited the site of Ancient Olympia, a few years ago. To stand and race at the birthplace of the ancient Olympics had been a lifelong dream for Ruth Frith. At that time she had been honored by the mayor of Ancient Olympia, and she had said then: “I love Greece and the Greeks. You are proud and wonderful people and it shows in your everyday lives.”

She died peacefully on February 28, just a week before Brisbane City Council approved the naming of a park after her in the city's south.

Parkinson ward councillor Angela Owen-Taylor described Mrs Frith as inspirational.

In 2009, Ruth Frith OAM (Order of Australia Medal) was awarded the Lord Mayor's Australia Day Sports award in recognition of her achievements representing the City of Brisbane.

Prior to her later year athletics career, Mrs Frith spent time working with Northern Territory indigenous communities, for which she was awarded the Queen's Coronation Medal in 1953.

She initially trained as a solicitor but gave up her career when she married Ray Frith in 1933.

She is survived by her two daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.