Even when the world feels bleak, some things are guaranteed to induce a burst of happiness. Unexpectedly finding a £10 in your coat pocket is one. Walking down a leafy street, an orange and pink sunset spilling over the rooftops, is another. And inspirational stories about joyful elderly people living their best lives are so mood-boosting, they could arguably be classed as a form of alternative therapy.
This week’s Joyful Elderly Person Living Her Best Life is 101-year-old Man Kaur, a gold medal-winning athlete from Chandigarh, India.
Kaur took home three gold medals at the World Masters Games in New Zealand this week, coming in first place in the 100m and 200m sprints and the javelin categories.
True, there was no one else competing against her in the 100-and-over age group – but that didn’t dampen Kaur’s enthusiasm one bit.
Kaur did a happy little victory dance after completing the 100m dash in 1:14:00 on Monday, cheered on by a watching crowd. The Times of India reports that Kaur’s winning time was “a mere 64:42 seconds off” Usain Bolt’s world record.
“I enjoyed it and am very, very happy,” Kaur told reporters, through an Punjabi interpreter.
On Thursday, Kaur won the javelin category with a throw of 5.12m.
Kaur, who apparently sticks to a strict diet including wheat grass juice and a daily glass of kefir (fermented milk), only took up athletics eight years ago at the age of 93.
Kaur’s move into sports came at the behest of her son, Gurdev Singh, who was 71 at the time.
Singh, already a regular competitor on the international masters games circuit (for “veteran” athletes), asked her mother if she’d like to join him.
Explaining how he’d sold the idea, 79-year-old Singh said he told his mother: “You have no problem, no knee problem, no heart problem – you should start running.”
Since then, the dynamic duo have competed in dozens of masters athletics meets around the world, and Kaur insists that the New Zealand games will not be the last time she competes.
“I’m going to run again, I’m not going to give up,” she says. “I will participate – there’s no full stop.”
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