Mrs. Man Kaur from India required almost one minute and 21 seconds crossing the finish line in the 100-meter dash, but she still backed the gold medal at the recently concluded American Masters Games. That's because the 100-year-old Kaur was the only female competitor in her age category at the competition for older athletes.
After Kaur finished the sprint, she stood smiling with her hands raised in the air. Asked how she felt, she breathed heavily and clutched a bottle of water, unable to speak. Earlier, she had also won gold medals in the javelin and shot put events. Kaur has now won more than 20 medals in Masters Games across the globe. While practicing in her home of Chandigarh, she goes out every evening to run five or 10 short distances.
When she crossed the finish line in Vancouver, Canada her competitors — several in their 70s and 80s — were there to cheer her on.
Her son, Gurudev Singh, 78, who was also competing in the Games, said he encouraged his mother to start running at age 93 because he knew she could become a star. "I asked her, you have no problem, no knee problem, no heart problem, you should start running," he recalled. Singh also said his mother believes in promoting running to other older women, "She encourages them, old ladies, which they should run, they should not eat wrong foods, and they should encourage their children also to take part in the Games".
The World Masters Games take place every four years, with regional games in between. The Americas Masters Games in Vancouver is the first summer regional games in North America. The average age of the athletes participating is around 50 years.