Remembering our 400m champion

It was very sad to read that Covid-19 claimed another legend. Every day a few thousands of people are dying in India, and every other day we hear of someone in the public eye succumbing to the disease. These people would have got the best of treatment, so it leaves us, common people, with a sense of helplessness. For the immediate family it must be very sorrowful to lose both Milkha Singh and Nirmal Kaur in the span of a few days.

In my hunt for autographs, and despite my participation in Masters Athletics (in pre-Covid times, I was running 100, 200 & 400m) and staying briefly in Chandigarh (where Milkha Singh was living), I never got to meet him. My mother did though, during her school days.

Bangalore was host to a National Athletics meet in July 1962, and as one can imagine, those who had even a little interest in sports thronged to see the Flying Sikh who had missed out on the bronze medal at the Rome Olympics a couple of years before that.

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Basketball in the ’80s at Baldwins

For some of us, basketball was an important part of our lives in school. Morning, practice on the court. In the games period twice a week, practice on the court. Evening after school, practice on the court. Saturday mornings, practice on the court. We’d even skip the mandatory Moral Education classes to practice on the court!

Good facilities offer opportunities to become good sportsmen. With dedicated coaches through the years, Baldwins was always among the leading contenders in the inter-school basketball scene.

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Being at the Asia Pacific Masters Games

It’s a year since the 1st Asia Pacific Masters Games (APMG 2018) was held at Penang, Malaysia (7-15 September 2018). 9 days, 22 disciplines and a whole lot of inspiration.

APMG2018 disciplines

When I heard that this was the 1st games, and it was being held at a time of the year convenient for me, I decided that I had to take part, despite a chronic knee problem. I’m really glad I did.

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India’s performance at the IAAF World Championship 2017

The IAAF World Championship, London 2017 that concluded yesterday, saw several unexpected results. Driven by Usain Bolt’s last competition appearance, I tracked the daily results, often staying awake late or waking up early to see some of the events live.

100m start IAAF 2017

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National Masters Athletics 2017

The 37th National Masters Athletics Championship 2017, conducted by India Masters Athletics, was held at Meenatai Thakre Krida Sankul, Nashik from 24th to 26th March 2017. There were about 1300 veterans, from age 30 years to the 90s, from all over India, who participated. (This meet is not to be confused with a parallel masters’ meet held by Masters Athletics Federation of India in Hyderabad in February.)

the dias.jpg

The stadium is still a work in progress, so one can find rubble here and there. Nonetheless, the overall facilities provided by the organisers, Nashik District Veterans Athletic Association, were very good. Accommodation (especially the women’s dorms) and food were excellent. The newly laid synthetic track was a pleasure to run on and provided the base for three scorching days of competition. One did miss the trees of Sports Authority Mumbai.

view of the ground

For me, it was a personally fulfilling event. In the Women 45+ age group I won 5 medals – gold in 80m hurdles, 400m and 4x100m relay, silver in 100m and 200m.

5 medal haul

100m run 45+

doing the 80m hurdles

80m hurdles medal.jpg

400m gold.jpg

Relay team

Here are some other glimpses of the event.

Maharashtra team

lining up

other states

chief guest

Maha gp

start of 5000m.jpg

pratima 5000m.jpg

5000m in progress.jpg

misc participants

all over

Pictures taken by miscellaneous people and shared.

Living to run!

It was a warm afternoon on the first day (10th March 2016) of the 36th National Masters Athletic Championship, at the Guru Gobind Singh Sports College Ground in Lucknow. For those unaware about ‘Masters’, it’s another word for ‘veterans’, with veteran defined as over the age of 30. At this championship,track and field events were held for men and women in 5-year age-groups (30+, 35+, 40+… 85+).

Masters Athletic Championship 2016

Post-lunch, the track was scheduled to see the 100m run for men and women for some of the age-group categories. Many of us who had no event just hung around at the ground to see the fastest oldies in action.

As the 85+ men dashed off, someone in the crowd mentioned that a 118-year old man was in the line up. He had taken part in some marathons as well. Seriously!? I was aware that Holocaust survivor Yisrael Kristal was supposed to be the oldest living man at 112. Anyhow, 118 or whatever, sprinting in one’s old age is phenomenal. I ran to the finish line to check out the old man. He was the lanky one with the turban… the one in a 6-feet something wiry body frame that served as a perfect hanger for his yellow T-shirt.

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On the sets of Jazbaa

Today has been much awaited. At least by the little girls who train with us at Sports Authority of India (SAI), Kandivali. Awaiting Jazbaa that hits theatres today.

Exactly a month ago, on 9th Sep 2015, the last few shots for Aishwarya Rai’s latest film Jazbaa were taken at the SAI running track. Preparation at the ground started the previous day – clean-up, painting, flags, banners, stage, backdrops. Everything that would come in the line of the lens was made perfect for the shoot.

Word spread that the film crew was looking for small girls of approximately 10 years of age and for ladies, to run in the film. The scene that was going to be shot was a school sports day where there would be a baton relay with the girls and their mothers. They needed people for the crowd too.

Shooting happened from morning to evening that day. The place was full of safari-suited security guards keeping the unwanted athletes off the ground. The coaches who train their wards at SAI were very much in the limelight, being in full control of the proceedings during the shoots. Some of us, including me, who went in the evening were lucky enough to see some of the final takes of the film. Action, cut! Action, cut!

Aishwarya Rai at SAI, Kandivali for Jazbaa

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