At first sight, Mann Kaur may look like your average senior citizen. But in her case, age is just a number.
The 102-year-old athlete, who started her career at 93, is known as the ‘Miracle from Chandigarh’ and has picked up yet another gold medal at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Malaga, Spain.
Kaur won the 200 m race medal in the 100-104 age group, as reported by the Indian Express.
So, how does she do it?
Motivation and encouragement come from her 78-year-old son, Gurdev, who is a stellar athlete in his own right–having participated in the World Masters Game, which is also considered as an Olympics for senior citizens.
It was Gurdev who introduced his mother to sports in 2011 and took the first step by checking her vital statistics. The parameters showed that she was healthy and Kaur she picked up her first medals, a silver in the long jump (3.21 m), and bronze in the 100 m, in the same year.
Kaur has always been in the spotlight for her outstanding athletic exploits.
In the World Masters Games in New Zealand in 2017, she won a 100 m gold in her category, and in 2011 won gold in 100 m and 200 m races at the Nationals.
Kaur is also the world’s fastest centenarian and has broken her own records, according to this report in the Hindustan Times. At the 2017 Masters in Auckland, New Zealand, she improved on her own world record by seven seconds. That is quite a feat, considering she is in the ‘100 plus’ category.
She completed the race in 1 minute 14 seconds.
Mann Kaur follows a strict training and diet regimen and ensures nothing is out of place. Speaking to Indian Weekender, her son said that his mother had worked very hard under the Maharaja of Patiala. From the very beginning, she followed a strict diet plan.
And she follows that even today. She has a glass of kefir upon waking each morning and eats rotis made of sprouted wheat twice a day. Additionally, she consumes fruit juices, four teaspoons of wheatgrass juice, nuts and seeds.
Kaur trains in outdoor sports grounds in Chandigarh every alternate day, and goes to the gym on other days. Each time she hits the sports ground, she runs 50 m sprints five times and does sprints of 100 m and 200 m each. In the gym, Kaur trains her upper body.
Apart from running and jumping, Kaur also loves javelin throw and shot put, and has taken part in both disciplines in the 2017 World Masters Games.
Away from the track and field, Kaur, the ‘Miracle from Chandigarh’ has quite the zest for adventure. She also has the distinction of being the oldest person to walk along the top of Auckland’s Sky Tower. Mann Kaur stepped out on to a platform 192 metres above Auckland, and walked across it, holding her 79-year-old son’s hand, according to this report by Stuff, New Zealand. After finishing her skywalk, she dug into a sumptuous vegetarian lunch.
Kaur has won more than 20 medals in the Masters Games all across the globe and has her eyes on a gold medal at the 2020 Masters Game in Japan.
Given her experience as an athlete, at her age, Kaur has the best advice for younger aspirants.
She told Indian Weekender that athletes should eat healthily and avoid junk food. The latter might be tasty but does no good for our body. Kaur feels the secret to good health is good food and regular exercise.
She also hopes to encourage more Indians to come forward and participate in the World Master Games.
“Mann Kaur is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. As Pinkathon mascot and Ambassador she has travelled with us across the country, telling thousands of women the secret to a mentally and physically healthy life, and has become a symbol of aspiration and hope for all who hear of her stupendous achievements”
says Milind Soman, speaking to The Better India
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)