China bars W100 Indian sprinter Man Kaur from AMA champs

Looks like China didn’t want its centenarians overshadowed by India’s centenarian. That’s my take on the latest politics-infects-sports story: “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.” Then we hear her own voice: “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.

Now the question: What will World Masters Athletics do about this?

If WMA leadership has any balls and conscience, it will tell China: You’ve blown it, folks. No more WMA meets for you. Ever.

A price must be paid.

Here’s the rest of the story:

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.

I’m writing WMA President Stan Perkins, demanding answers.

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September 25, 2017

3 Responses

  1. Ken Stone - September 25, 2017

    Within an hour of my posting the above, Stan Perkins responded:

    My information is that the application for the visa was made at the last minute and could not be processed in time for her to meet her travel arrangements.

    I have spoken with Indian team management and they had been trying to assist with the visa issue, but the late application had been the major problem.

    They, together with the LOC and City officials here in Rugao are all extremely disappointed as the participation of this person was given high level publicity.

    There was certainly no effort to promote the participation of the three 100 plus age men who are competing over that of the Indian athlete.

  2. Ken Stone - September 26, 2017

    Latest note from Stan Perkins — early Tuesday morning:

    I have again spoken with the Indian team management and they are trying to get her here by tomorrow to compete. So hopefully she will get her chance to impress.

  3. Quick Silver - September 30, 2017

    The Rugao organisers offered all teams help with securing visas, but in the case of the one Hong Kong athlete who needed one, their help wasn’t very effective. After several regulation tries he ended up getting a letter of invitation from a business contact and describing his visit as a business trip. (He won a medal.)

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