Age is certainly no barrier for determination. And even as we celebrate the achievements of our young athletes at the recently concluded Olympics, here is another Indian who is decades older, but is no less a sportsperson. 100-year-old Mann Kaur from Chandigarh finished the 100 metre dash at the American Masters Games in Vancouver, and won the gold medal, clocking a time of a minute and 27 seconds. Interestingly, she was the only female competitor in her age category at the competition for older athletes, and that itself needs to be lauded.
She crossed the line, smiled and waved to competitors — many of them two decades younger — but they were also cheering her on. Even more commendable is the fact that she had earlier won gold medals in the javelin and shot put.
“When she wins, she goes back to India, and she’s excited to tell others, ‘I have won so many medals from this country,’ ” said her son Gurdev Singh, 78, translating for his mother. “Winning makes her happy.”, reported by NDTV.
Kaur began running at age 93, encouraged by her son Gurdev Singh, who also is a participant in the Games. ’You have no problem, no knee problem, no heart problem, you should start running,’” he explained.
Man Kaur has until now won more than 20 medals in Masters Games across the globe, including clinching three golds this week. She practices at her home in Chandigarh, goes out every evening to run five or ten short distances, according to her son. Kaur believes in promoting running as a recreational activity to other older women as well. “She encourages them, old ladies that they should run, they should not eat wrong foods, and they should encourage their children also to take part in the Games,” elated Singh added.
Even Charmaine Crooks, a five-time Olympian who won a silver medal for Canada in the women’s 4×400-meter relay in 1984, and serves as an athlete ambassador for the Masters Games, praised Ms Kaur for her dynamic spirit. She said, “I know that it’s inspired me. Hey, I’ve got almost 50 more years to go, right?” Crooks added, “She’s inspiring everyone, young and old.”
The World Masters Games is held every four years, with regional games in between. The Americas Masters Games in Vancouver is the first summer regional games in North America, Ms Crooks explained.The average age of the athletes is limited to 49, and this year one man even older than Ms Kaur (who is 101-year-old) Nihal Gill of Richmond, British Columbia participated.
And just in case you are wondering what her secret mantra is to a long life, Kaur credits,it to a good diet and lots of exercise. No there’s some food for thought !
Feature Image Credit: Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press
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