Fleet-footed centenarian not near her finish line

101-year-old Man Kaur celebrating winning the 100m sprint at the World Masters Games. She was the sole competitor in the 100-and-over race.
101-year-old Man Kaur celebrating winning the 100m sprint at the World Masters Games. She was the sole competitor in the 100-and-over race.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

AUCKLAND • A 101-year-old runner who has been dubbed the "miracle from Chandigarh" by New Zealand media celebrated her latest gold medal with a modest little dance after winning the 100m sprint at the World Masters Games on Monday.

Man Kaur, who hails from India, ran the race in 1min 14sec - a time that the Times of India cheekily reported as "a mere 64.42 seconds off" Usain Bolt's world record - and could have taken her sweet time because she was the only athlete competing in her 100-and-over age category in the Auckland competition.

In truth her dash became more of a gentle amble the closer the diminutive centenarian came to the finish line, with more energy spent beaming at spectators than running.

"I enjoyed it and am very, very happy," Man, who sported a bib with the number 10001, told reporters through an interpreter.

"I'm going to run again, I'm not going to give up. I will participate, there's no full stop."

She had no previous running experience when her son, Gurdev Singh, invited her to join him on the international masters games circuit.

She was 93 at the time. Since then, she and her son, who is 79, have been regulars on the circuit. Man has more than 20 medals, including winning the shot put and javelin in the American Masters games last summer. Her haul can increase this week as she is set to compete in the 200m, 2kg shot put and 400g javelin.

"When she wins, she goes back to India, and she's excited to tell others, 'I have won so many medals from this country,'" Gurdev said. "Winning makes her happy."

She runs five or 10 short distances every evening in Chandigarh. And her secret may be a strict diet that, her son told the Indian Weekender, includes wheat grass juice and a daily glass of kefir, a fermented milk drink.

WASHINGTON POST, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 26, 2017, with the headline 'Fleet-footed centenarian not near her finish line'. Print Edition | Subscribe