World's fastest centenarian heading to NZ

Man Kaur, 100, is the oldest competitor to enter next year's World Masters Games
Man Kaur, 100, is the oldest competitor to enter next year's World Masters Games

She's the fastest centenarian in the world - and soon 100-year-old Man Kaur will be strutting her stuff in New Zealand.

Considered an inspiration to all women in her native India, Kaur is the oldest competitor to enter next year's World Masters Games to be held in Auckland and the Waikato from April 21-30.

In August, Ms Kaur won gold medals in the 100 metres dash, javelin and shot put at the American Masters Games held in Canada. She was the only female competitor in her age category at the competition for older athletes and took a minute-and-a-half to cross the finish line in Vancouver.

She has entered the 100, 200m, javelin and shot put events at the World Masters Games which is an international multi-sport event that takes place every four years with regional games inbetween.

Kaur only took up running seven years ago - at the ripe old age of 93 - when encouraged by her son who has also entered the Masters Games.

Grudev Singh, who is 78 and will compete in the 100m, 200m and long jump events in his age group, said his mother's energy and drive was an inspiration.

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

Since taking up her son's advice, Kaur has now won more than 20 medals in regional Masters Games events across the globe and will be looking to add to her impressive haul in New Zealand.

The average age of competitors at the World Masters Games is 42. Next year will be the first time New Zealand has hosted the event.

There is one male masters athlete who is even older than Kaur. But organisers are yet to hear if 101-year-old Canadian Nihal Gill is coming to New Zealand.

Mr Singh said he encouraged his mother to start running at age 93 because he knew she could become a star.

"I asked her. 'You have no problem, no knee problem, no heart problem, you should start running,'" he said.

He added that his mother runs every evening in her home city of Chandigarh and believes in promoting running to other older women.

"She encourages them, old ladies, that they should run, they should not eat wrong foods, and they should encourage their children also to take part in the Games."

New Zealanders of note to have entered the Masters Games, for athletes over 30, include former New Zealand cricketer Martin Snedden, who is competing in golf, ex-Olympian swimmer Anthony Mosse and veteran running star Allison Roe who has entered the rowing category.

Who: Man Kaur, 100-year-old athlete from India
What: Won Gold Medal at 2016 Masters Games
When: Coming to NZ for 2017 Games in April

- NZ Herald

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