Native Affairs - 101-year-old sprinter to compete in NZ

By Aroha Awarau
  • Auckland

Age is no barrier for Indian athlete Man Kaur who at 101-years-old will be the oldest competitor at the World Masters Games to be held in Auckland in April.  She says she is excited about her first trip to New Zealand and interacting with Māori culture. 

Kaur will be competing in shot put, javelin and the 100 and 200-metre sprints at the games which encourage sporting participation at any age.  In August, Kaur won gold medals in all her events at the American Masters Games held in Canada. She was the only female competitor in her age category in the 100-meter sprint and took a minute and a half to cross the finish line.

From their home in Chandigarh, Kaur’s son Gurdev Singh told Māori Television that his mother is looking forward to competing in New Zealand and immersing herself in Māori culture.

“We are feeling very good about this trip. My mum especially is excited.” Singh says.

The mother of three worked all her life as a maid and on the advice from her son, she took up running – at the ripe age of 93.  Like his mother, Singh, who is 78, will also be competing at the games in athletics.

World Masters Games Chief executive Jennah Wootten says Kaur personifies the spirit of the event.

“We understand that being physically active is not only helpful for our physiology, but also contributes to mental and social well-being,” she says.

This is the first time New Zealand will host the event with the average age of competitors being 42. More than 25,000 people from around the world are expected to come. The oldest Kiwi competitor is 92 and Olympic legend Peter Snell and marathon star Allison Roe are registered to compete for New Zealand.

Singh says his mother has two simple rules to living a long and happy life.

“The most important thing in her life is living without any prejudice.  She also eats food made at home. No restaurant food and no factory-made food.”