India’s president honors M80 shot putter for senior achievements

President Pranab Mukherjee  makes M80 thrower's day.

President Pranab Mukherjee makes Gurjiwan’s day.

It’s not exactly like meeting President Obama, but an 84-year Indian shot putter won a national award Saturday from his country’s prez. The Tribune of India reported Monday: “Gurjiwan Singh Sidhu was awarded the National Award for senior citizens for his contribution in the field of sports by the President of India in New Delhi. … In his latest achievement, Sidhu won a gold medal in the shot put event of the National Masters Athletics Championship in Mysore. He threw the iron ball 10.13 metres in the 80+ category. He also won the silver medal in the discus throw event (20.27m) in the same age-group.” Of course, India’s prime minister holds the top job. But being feted by the president isn’t too shabby.

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After this, he participated in the Asian meet in Singapore, where he bagged the top honour in his age group. “I am happy to be honoured by the President. It’s been more than 12 years that I have been winning laurels in national and international tournaments. This award has given me a boost to continue with sports,” said Sidhu.

He started his career in 2004 after his son challenged him to participate in the then State Veteran Meet. “It was in 2004, when I started training for shot put. My son challenged me to win a position in the State Masters Meet. I accepted the challenge and won gold in that event. There was no looking back after that,” added Sidhu, who has more than 85 medals in his kitty.

He is a four-time Asian champion in shot put, twice Asian gold medallist in hammer throw and once Asian champion in javelin throw. He also won bronze in both the shot put and hammer throw events in the Sydney World Masters Games. He is a 12-time national champion in shot put. “My life has always been about accepting challenges,” said Sidhu.

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October 2, 2016

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