The centenarian, who also throws a mean javelin, said she is not done yet and is hungry for more competitions – and also more medals.
“I want to win more. I feel very happy after winning. The government has not given me anything, but it doesn’t matter as I just want to run, because running gives me happiness,” Kaur told PTI over phone from Patiala, where she has moved from Chandigarh for her athletics training.
Kaur won the gold medal in the 200-metre race in the 100-to-104 age group at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Malaga, Spain, earlier this month. She also picked up a gold medal in the javelin competition there.
She was the only competitor in that age bracket, but that was mere quibbling for her fan base which raised a toast to the woman who participated in an international meet, running 200 metres and throwing the javelin at 102.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Kaur has already started training for the World Masters Athletics Indoor Championships in Poland next March where she aims to participate in the 60-metre and 200-metre races.
Kaur, who took up running at the ripe age of 93 and was dubbed the ‘Miracle from Chandigarh’, shot to fame last year after winning the 100-metre sprint at the World Masters Games in Auckland, New Zealand.
Her mantra for fitness, longevity and positivity is simple.
“One should eat well and exercise. Don’t eat junk food and respect your elders,” the great grandmother said when asked about her advice to the younger generation.
Her own diet includes six ‘rotis’, prepared with sprouted wheat, sprouted ‘kala chana’ and barley.
Apart from the rotis, she also has soya milk, seasonal fruits, juices and ‘kefir’ (fermented milk), which they get from Canada.
Kaur does rue the fact that cricketers get so much attention while sportspersons from other games don’t get their due, but said her love for running and participating in competitions keeps her going.
Last year, Kaur was made the mascot and ambassador of Pinkathon — a women’s marathon started by model-actor-fitness enthusiast Milind Soman. Pinkathon also funded Kaur’s Spain visit.
“Man 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,” Soman told PTI.
Love for athletics runs in the family.
Kaur’s 80-year-old son Gurdev Singh also takes part in international races and athletics events.
His mother gets excited when she gets to know an event is coming up and keeps asking how many days are left for it, he said.
“We have already started preparing (for the next competition in Poland). She has already started her training after coming back. We will try to create a new record,” Singh said.
He said they have already drawn up plans for the next three years — in Torun, Poland, next year, in Toronto, Canada, 2020, and, Kansai region of western Japan in 2021.
“In 2021, she will be 105 plus. We are eyeing that (event) as well,” Singh said.
Discussing his mother’s training schedule, Singh said she does a warm up everyday, then two sprints of 100 metres each, followed by four sprints of 30 metres.
In the end, she does slow running for 200 metres, he said.
On how he got his mother interested in athletics, Singh said, “When I went abroad (for competitions), I saw 100 plus ladies participating. I saw that my mother had no ailments. I made her race and then made her participate at nationals in 100 and 200 metre events in Chandigarh and she got world record timing…that is how her journey began.”
And she sprints on.