Athletics: No slowing down golden oldie Ajit Singh

Former Olympian Ajit Singh, 89, takes part in the Singapore Masters Athletics X-Country Run/Walk at MacRitchie Reservoir on March 2, 2018.
Former Olympian Ajit Singh, 89, takes part in the Singapore Masters Athletics X-Country Run/Walk at MacRitchie Reservoir on March 2, 2018.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

He took 29 minutes to complete the 3,000-metre race walking event, which is no great shakes - until you realise Ajit Singh is turning 90 on March 21.

At the end of his race, the 89-year-old former Olympian declared: "I feel like a boy!"

Ajit, who represented Singapore in hockey as a fullback at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and became a national cricketer later on, was one of 240 participants who competed across four age categories - 35 to 44, 45 to 54, 55 to 64, and 65 and above - at the Singapore Masters Athletics (SMA) X-Country Run/Walk meet at MacRitchie Reservoir yesterday afternoon.

He attributes his good health to a disciplined lifestyle. He wakes up at 5.30am and sleeps at 10.30pm every day. He walks and plays nine holes at the Singapore Island Country Club's Island Course on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and walks 5,000 metres at Yio Chu Kang Stadium on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

The former mathematics and English teacher of 36 years eats more vegetables and less meat these days and also abstains from beer and soft drinks.

"My father used to say, 'Work doesn't kill you'," said the sprightly octogenarian, who has five children, 10 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Ajit first took part in an SMA event when he won the 5,000m race walk in 49min 3.62sec at the Asia Masters Athletics Championships on home soil in 2016.

He hopes to take part in the World Masters Athletics Championships in Spain this September.

He added: "It's great to be part of the SMA, which allows me to compete regularly with people of my age group. To other elderly folks around my age, I would encourage them to keep active, keep walking and be happy."

As there was no entry fee for the event, organising chairman Samuel Veera Singaram thanked volunteers and sponsors such as Kangen, DL's Caring Community and Laser Acupuncture Centre.

He said: "We want to follow the Government's initiatives and encourage all those who fall in the masters categories to continue competing and be socially active as they age and not feel neglected or forgotten."

Those who are interested in the SMA events can go to the Singapore Masters Athletics website or Facebook page.