World Masters Games attract 15,000 competitors
When Centenarian Mann Kaur won the 100 metres run at the Trust Arena Stadium in Waitakere on Monday, April 24, 2017, nobody looked at the time.
Watching the 101-years-old sprinter from India do the distance with sheer enthusiasm and determination was not only energising but also inspiring.
For the record, she clocked 1m 14.58s, setting her own standards.
There was of course no one of her age group.
Hindustan Times had reported that she and her 79-year-old son Gurdev Singh have been training at the Punjabi University in Patiala for the past five months.
Gurdev, a Canadian national, said that the training ground had to be shifted from his hometown Chandigarh because of the size of the stadium.
“In Patiala, we could also access the gym. It helped my mother reduce 10 seconds in 100m. She is now clocking 1m 10s,” he had said.
Mann Kaur was introduced to athletics only in 2009 when she was 93 years old.
Two years later, she won the 100m and 200m in the 90+ category in the national masters meet.
While participating in the World Masters Meet in Canada in 2008, Gurdev saw a 90-year-old woman competing and encouraged his mother.
She said she was hesitant in the beginning but later started enjoying the feat.
Ms Kaur was employed as a caretaker to the Queens of the Maharaja of Patiala Bhupinder Singh before India achieved independence on August 15, 1947.
She starts her day with a glass of kefir (fermented milk drink) and chapattis of sprouted wheat. “Nor fried food for me,” she said.
The seventh edition of the Games began with the opening ceremony at Auckland’s Eden Park on April 21.
The once in a four-year event had age as the sole entry criteria.
The average age across disciples was 35 years, with swimming having the youngest qualifying age to compete at 25. Basketball, softball and football were the most popular team sports, while athletics and swimming attracted the largest number of individual entries.
New Zealand and Indian Competitors
About 10,000 competitors from New Zealand were a part of these games.
Among them were Olympic Gold medallist Sir Peter Snell (Table Tennis) former Black Cap Martin Snedden (Golf) and former Commonwealth Gold medallist swimmer Anthony Mosse (Swimming).
About 150 competitors from India participated at this event, with Athletics, Swimming and Table Tennis as the most popular sports.
As mentioned earlier, 101-years-old Mann Kaur was the oldest participant in the Games in 100m, 200m, javelin and shot put.
World Masters Games was the biggest sporting event to be held in Auckland after the Rugby World Cup in 2011.
The event added around $30 million to the greater Auckland region, mostly to the tourism and hospitality sectors. A positive flow-on effect is expected with overseas entrants sharing their experiences in New Zealand with friends and family.
Social media also has carried substantial coverage of these games.
Masters Games had around 4000 volunteers working long hours to make the event a success.
In successfully hosting the World Masters Games 2017 Auckland has shown its ability again to deliver global events of a large scale.
- 101-years-old Mann Kaur after completing her 100m run
- A part of the Indian contingent at World Masters Games 2017
(Pictures by Kevin Clarke/World Masters Games 2017 Media)