Peter Snell entered in World Masters Games (just the wrong sport)
M75 Olympian Peter Snell, one of New Zealandâ€™s greatest middle-distance runners, says he and his wife, Miki, will compete at the World Masters Games in Auckland opening Friday. Too bad itâ€™s only in table tennis. At least we have W100 sprinter Man Kaur to cheer. The New Zealand Herald reports: â€śMan Kaur has travelled more than 13,000km to reach Auckland, so whatâ€™s 100 metres more for this remarkable 101-year-old athlete from India. Kaur and her 79-year-old son Gurdev have arrived for the World Masters Games, where she will compete in the 100m, 200m, javelin and shot put. After 19 hours of flying over two days, Kaur entered the Auckland Airport arrival hall in a wheelchair and happily took questions from NZME, with her son translating for the Games oldest competitor.â€ť
The story continues:
But when given the chance, she got up from the chair and skipped at an impressive speed through the hall, showing the form befitting a woman who trains in the gym one day and on the track the next.
â€śShe never feels tired,â€ť says Gurdev, who details her other athletic excursions to competitions in the United Staes (twice), Canada and Taiwan.
Whatâ€™s more, Gurdev reveals that two months ago, she was found to have severe osteoporosis of the spine and shows a rather graphic x-ray on his phone to prove it.
Doctors have told him: â€śWe donâ€™t know how she runs.â€ť
But run she has, this miracle from Chandigarh, since taking up athletics at the tender age of 93, when Gurdev â€“ who had competed in Masters for 25 years â€“ suggested it.
Athletics authorities insisted on a medical check and she received a glowing bill of health by experts at Punjab University.
At the Americas Masters in Vancouver last August, other competitors cheered her across the finish-line, after she completed the 100m in one minute and 21 seconds.
Reports told of how she smiled, with arms raised, clung to a water bottle and could hardly speak, while other athletes talked of being inspired by her efforts.
Among those who would have been impressed was Canadian Nihal â€śNippyâ€ť Gil, a year older than Man Kaur, who had claimed gold in the 100-plus sprint for men, after his one expected opponent from India failed to show. In Auckland, the next oldest competitor will be Hamiltonâ€™s Reg Rye, a 95-year-old who took up track cycling just a couple of years ago.
As the only 100-plus competitor, Man Kaur is assured of four golds in the 10-day Games, which begin on Friday, taking her medal haul to well over 20. One aim is to crack the one minute 10 second mark in the 100m at Trusts Stadium.
And she canâ€™t wait to hear the Indian anthem played.
She will start with the 100m on Monday, competes in the 200m and 2kg shot put on Wednesday, and rounds things off by hurling a 400g javelin on Thursday.
Gurdev is immensely proud and says father Ranjit Singh, who passed away five years ago, was also very supportive. Man Kaurâ€™s motivations include encouraging older women to run and eat well.
â€śIf God will give me power, I will run accordingly,â€ť says a woman, who had no sporting experience until her epiphany at 93.
â€śTill the day I die, I will do this and may I die on the trackâ€¦ no problem.â€ť
Iâ€™m not sure how many Americans are in Auckland, but I got a note from Elizabeth Hancock and Curt Morgan, who say: â€śWe (Curt Morgan and Beth Hancock of Philly Masters) are here in NZ, about to compete, along with 100 (or more) other Yanks â€” and 28,000 other masters.â€ť
So have a great time, guys, and make the Yanks proud.