Hundred and one-year-old Man Kaur has travelled all the way from Punjab, India to participate in the World Master Games 2017 to be held in Auckland from Friday, April 21. The 101-year old athlete had previously competed in other international games in 100m, 200m, 400g Javelin and Shot Put in the 100-plus category and holds four world records made in Sacramento and Vancouver last year when she turned 100.
Considered the fastest centenarian, Mrs Kaur will run 100m on Monday, April 24, race 200m and hurl 2 kg shot put on Wednesday, April 26 and conclude her run with the 400g javelin throw on Thursday. Mrs Kaur finished her 100m last year in 1 minute 43 seconds and aimed to break her record and finish the race in 1 minute 10 seconds.
Her 79-year old son Gurdev is also competing in the 100m, 200m sprints and long jump event next week. He won a gold medal in high jump senior category at World Master Games 2013 held in the USA.
Mrs Kaur got off from her car and started walking towards Lovelock Track at Wesley Community Centre in Mt Roskill with the support from her son Gurdev. She stood still on the tracks for a few minutes, took a deep breath and then she was ready to race. Indian Weekender met the great grandmother while she practised at Lovelock track earlier this week.
In a brief conversation with Indian Weekender, Mrs Kaur shared her motivation for the sports, the secret to her fitness and her aim to gather four more gold medals this year and make the count 20. Mrs Kaur spoke in Punjabi while her son Gurdev translated the interview and shared some of her views.
IWK: How are you doing Mrs Kaur?
Mrs Kaur: (Speaking in Punjabi) I am doing good, practising to get ready for the race.
IWK: What is her drive to compete in athletic games at this age?
Gurdev: She worked under the Maharaja of Patiala, and worked very hard. From very beginning she had followed a strict diet regime and felt healthy. When I completed my 25 Masters games around the world, I realised that women in western countries are so fit and they actively participate in such sports events. I got my mother checked, and all her vitals were healthy. I took her to Punjab University, and she performed well. She was 94 when she participated at the Indian Masters and won the gold medal. She then went to America for a few more games and since then decided to run all her life.
IWK: How does she keep herself fit and what’s her diet?
Gurdev: We give her a very strict diet. In the morning she takes a glass of kefir, she takes roti twice a day which is made only from sprouted wheat. She takes fruit juice, four teaspoons of wheat grass juice, nuts and seeds.
IWK: How is the support from the community back home?
Gurdev: People are very supportive back home, and so is the government. When we came from Vancouver, the Punjab government offered us accommodation in the Punjab University where she practised on the world class tracks preparing for the World Master Games.
IWK: How many hours does she practice every day?
Gurdev: She practices in the outdoor sports grounds every alternate day, and goes to the gym on other days. Every time she hits the sports ground, she runs 50m sprint five times, does a 100 m and 200 m sprint. While at the gym, she works on her upper body.
IWK: Mrs Kaur, what is your aim in WMG 2017?
Mrs Kaur: (Speaking in Punjabi) with the grace of God I have been able to come this far, and I will practice and hope to win all four gold medals for my country.
IWK: What is your message to the young athletes?
Mr Gurdev: We should eat healthy food and avoid junk food. Junk food is tasty, but is not very healthy for our body. The secret to good health is healthy food and regular exercise. I also want to encourage Indians to come forward and participate in the World Master Games and make a difference.