Healthy food, regular training and an indomitable spirit. That is what propelled 101-year-old Man Kaur across the finish line on April 24 at the World Master’s Games in Auckland this year. This moment, the sight of the Chandigarh-based Kaur edging towards the finish line (she took 1 minute 14 seconds to complete the 100 m sprint), has been nominated for the Laureus Best Sporting Moment of the year award. A global online poll will determine the actual winner of the award offered by the Laureus World Sports Academy and you can vote for Kaur on mylaureus.com
Seventy-nine Gurudev Singh, speaking over the telephone on behalf of his mother who is a little hard of hearing, says that she began running fairly late in life – at the age of 93 to be precise. An athlete himself who regularly participated in the World Masters Games, the world’s largest multi-sport event for mature athletes, Singh was struck by the aplomb with which older women abroad participated in sport. “I realised that my mother was good as any of them so I began training her,” he says.
She won her first medal at the Chandigarh Master’s in 2010 where she was noticed by David Premnath, General Secretary of the Masters Athletic Federation of India. “He told me that she had gold medal potential,” says Singh, who then began encouraging her to participate in more competitions.
Nothing holds her back, he adds. Not her inability to speak English nor the osteoporosis that has seeped into her aging limbs. “We train together every day,” says Singh. She runs every other day, works at strengthening her upper body and also trains in shot-put and javelin (she won a gold for those as well at the Games).
Singh credits an active lifestyle and a nutritious food to his mother’s incredible fitness at this advanced age. “She used to work for the royal family of the erstwhile Patiala state,” he says. She would accompany them to Himachal Pradesh in summer and spend a lot of time walking up and down hills, he recalls, adding that the food was good too.
She still eats very well, her diet contains rotis of sprouted grain, wheat-grass juice and soya milk, and she prefers eating at home. “She tells me that young people nowadays have forgotten how to eat right and move their body,” says Singh.
Kaur, obviously, has not. She has won over 20 medals so far in games all across the country and world. “My mother loves travelling and running,” says Singh. “This award will be good for her and good for her country,” he says.