A 65-year old Kiwi-Indian man, an Indian Army veteran, has set an example for the community by winning three medals at the New Zealand Masters Games held in Dunedin.
Sokhi Tapendra Singh was the only Indian to participate in the Masters Games in February 2018 and won two silver medals for shot put and discus throw and a bronze medal in the javelin.
Mr Singh came to New Zealand for a holiday when he fell in love with the country and decided to settle here with his family. Prior to moving to New Zealand, Mr Singh also represented India at the Australian Masters Game in 2001.
Mr Singh claims to be athletic from a very young age and had participated in major sporting events since his childhood.
“From my school days, I was interested in sports, and I played cricket, soccer, volleyball, and hockey besides other athletics,” Mr Singh told The Indian Weekender.
Mr Singh served in the Indian Army for nine years as an engineer making constructing bridges, making mines act. And after leaving the army, he ran a business of dyeing plastic moulds for vehicles.
Mr Singh played national level soccer in Delhi in 1988, participated in the Veterans Game held in Bhopal in 1989 and participated in the 11th Asian Veteran Athlete Meet held in Bangalore in 2000.
Mr Singh, with age, started suffering from Arthritis that limited some of this athletic activities but it did not stop him from participating in different national and international sporting events. He won gold in the shot put and a silver medal in discus throw at the NZ Masters Games 2007 held in Wanganui.
Although Mr Singh did not get much success at the World Masters Games held in 2017, he accomplished the national level games this year with three medals.
“Unfortunately I did not win any medals last year, but I cherished the experience and made this event to be my motivation, and I dedicated myself to get into more training in order to improve myself as an athlete,” Mr Singh added.
Speaking about his fitness at the age of 65, Mr Singh says he runs at least three to five kilometres every morning, exercises, eats healthy food and practice shot put in his backyard.
Mr Singh has a dairy shop he runs in Auckland since 2003 and is an active community member too.
My motto is to courage the youth to indulge in sports in order to keep fit physically and mentally,” Mr Singh said.