The last four months have seen 101-year-old Chandigarh athlete Man Kaur shift base to Punjabi University, Patiala, along with her 79-year-old son Gurdev Singh, to train for the Asian Masters Athletics Championships to be held in Rubao, China, which begin on Tuesday. However, Kaur, who won the 100m gold medal in the 100+ category at the World Masters Games in New Zealand in April, was the only Indian athlete denied visa by the Chinese Embassy.
“Mera kam hai daudna aur main eh kam kardi rawange (My task is to run and I will continue running). We had come to Delhi last week and submitted our visa application along with the letter of Indian Masters Athletics Association. On Friday, the Chinese Embassy officials told us that they have denied us the visa for the Asian Masters Championships. But I am physically and mentally ready for the events and such disappointments cannot deter me,” Kaur told The Indian Express.
Kaur, who started running at the age of 93, won gold medal in 100m and 200m in her age group at the 2011 Nationals before securing gold in the two events at the World Masters Championships the same year.
Earlier this year, she was the only athlete to compete in the +100 category in World Masters Games in Auckland and won the 100m with a timing of one minute and 14 seconds. Post the win, Kaur shifted her base to Patiala from Chandigarh and also started training for the 400m with son Gurdev. In China, Kaur was to take part in the 100m, 200m, shot put and javelin throw.
“When she started winning medals, she wanted to keep winning them. Since there are fewer international competitions, we were looking forward to the Asian Championships in China. During the last four months, she also showed her interest in the 400m and trained for that. We had also booked our flights from Shanghai to Los Angeles, once the tournament ended. We had taken part in the Asian Championships in 2013 in China. What harm can a 101-year-old and 79-year-old do in China apart from aiming for a medal?” said Gurdev, who also competes in the 100m, 200m and long jump and had won a silver and a bronze medal in Auckland.
The mother-son duo plan to visit Canada, where Singh is a permanent resident, later this month and start preparing for next year’s World Masters Championships in Spain.
“She is mentally and physically ready for the events and we still make rotis from wheat and chickpea sprouts. That is what keeps us healthy. By God’s grace, we will both compete in Spain,” shared Singh.