Vallabhajosyula Sriramulu, a 92-year-old retired Indian Navy officer, recently won a 10-km speed walking world championship. Here’s more about the achievement and his inspiring story.
Meet Commander (Retd) Vallabhajosyula Sriramulu, a 92-year-old man who won a gold medal in 10 kilometre speed walking event, at the World Masters Athletic Championships held in Lyons, France.
Yes, you heard it right. Sriramulu participated in 5-km, 10-km and 20-km speed walk events and finally won in the 10-km walk for the 90-94 age group category.
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Picture for representation only. Source: LYON 2015 – World Masters Athletics Championships Facebook page
He was eyeing the medal in for the 20-km walk, but was disqualified from both 5 km and 20 km events. A contestant has to stick to specific guidelines, which say that both feet should not be in the air together at any point of time during the race. Also, when a participant has to ground the heel, the knee should also lock – otherwise it is considered a run which leads to disqualification.
Failing to abide by these technicalities in the two events, Sriramulu was disqualified. But he finally won the 10 km speed walk. The event had 8,059 participants from 98 countries, including 2,505 women.
He retired from the Indian Navy in 1975 and was encouraged by the then district veteran sports association secretary, Tripura Sundara Rao, to participate in senior sports events.
Sriramulu took his advice seriously and started weight training at home. Today he is super fit, is a regular walker, and has been participating in many athletic meets since some time now.