Meet Laureus Award nominee Man Kaur, an athlete who's developed an appetite for medals at 101

She is 101-years-old, but continues to set the sprint track on fire. Dubbed as the "Miracle from Chandigarh", she had won gold in 100m dash at the World Masters Games in Auckland earlier this year, clocking a time of 74 seconds, which is phenomenal for her age.

In the process, she smashed her own world record set at the American Masters Games in Vancouver last year by a good seven seconds. And not just that, she had also won gold medals in 200m dash, shot put and javelin throw at the quadrennial World Masters, which is considered to be the Olympics for veterans. What really put the exclamation mark on her performance was a 5.12m-long throw of the javelin that made her a part of the prestigious Guinness Book of World Records.

 Meet Laureus Award nominee Man Kaur, an athlete whos developed an appetite for medals at 101

101-year-old Man Kaur celebrates after competing in the 100m sprint at the World Masters Games in Auckland on 24 April, 2017. AFP

She also became the oldest person to sky walk around Auckland's famous Sky Tower, 192m above the city. Kaur's life is a celebration of human achievement. Pushing her limits and raising the bar a little further every time, she personifies the power of human will.

Kaur is one of the nominees for the coveted Laureus World Sports Awards in the new category - 'Best Sporting Moment of the Year', which will highlight the power of sport in changing the world. Starting from August, a winner out of six nominations is being chosen every month through online public voting at mylaureus.com. This process would continue till December, at the end of which the five monthly winners would move on to the final round. Public voting would again decide the ultimate winner, whose name would be announced at the Laureus Awards ceremony in 2018. Kaur is among the nominees for September.

"She had done India proud. I appeal to the 121 crore Indians, to spare even a little time from their busy schedules and vote to ensure her victory," said Kaur's 79-year-old son Gurdev Singh - an athlete and world champion himself - in a telephonic interaction with Firstpost.

It was Singh, who had inspired his mother to get into athletics. At that time she was 93-years-old, and when most of the lesser mortals would be engulfed with senile ailments, counting their last days, Kaur found a fresh lease of life. In every way, she defies nature!

Where does she find her energy, we ask her. "My energy comes from a healthy diet. I thank God for being kind and giving me strength. It has been eight years since I first started. My son had encouraged me to run," Kaur says in Punjabi.

Singh's voice fills with pride talking about his mother and her many achievements. Calling Kaur a "golden girl", Singh points out, "My mother Man Kaur and I are both world champions. She had won two gold medals at the 2011 World Masters Athletics held at Sacramento in 100m and 200m races and both were world records. She was declared 'Athlete of the Year' in 2011."

But what inspired Singh to get his nonagenarian mother on the sprint track for the first time?

"In foreign countries I have seen old people being quite active. So I asked myself, why can't we do this as well? My mother had no major ailments, and she could run. So I thought, why not do this? People used to say I was making my mother run at such an old age, and that I should let her rest. But the more she stays immobile the more would there be degeneration," Singh said.

And what about food and training? How does the super-woman keep herself fit and ready? Does she perform yoga?

"Not yoga per se, but she eats healthy. Eating right and healthy is very important. Where were things like protein powder in the olden days? We have benefited from training at Punjab University grounds," Singh reveals.

Kaur's many records is proof of her incredible discipline and dedication, and Singh doesn't tire in listing out his mother's achievements.

"In 2012, she participated in the Asian Masters Athletics Championships held at Taipei and won a gold medal in the 100m race. In 2013, she won five gold medals in the Canadian Masters Athletics Championships. In 2013 again, she took part in the Huntsman World Senior Games where more than 10,000 participants from around the world took part and she won five gold medals, and in shot put and javelin throw, she broke world records. In August last year, at the American Masters Games held at Vancouver, she won four gold medals and all were world records," Singh notes.

Now that is a cupboard-full of medals. The 100m gold at the World Masters this year was the 17th of Kaur's career. But the mother-son duo seek more, constantly striving to improve upon what they had already attained, pushing the barrier even further.

"We are just coming back from practice and the time I noted her to have clocked was 1 minute 11 seconds (three seconds less than her jaw-dropping world record timing at the World Masters). We are hopeful of bettering even that at the upcoming Asia Masters Athletics Championship in China," Singh stated.

What message do the evergreen mother-son duo have for the Indians?

"Eat right and eat healthy. The younger generation really has to take care of its diet. Also never ever give up in life," Singh signed off, leaving us ruminating about an interaction that would be cherished for a lifetime.

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Updated Date: Sep 11, 2017 23:11:45 IST