Meet 105-Year-Old Rambai, India's Newest Athletics Champion
Rambai set a new national record in 100m at the National Masters Championships. She began running at the age of 104.
It took her less than 46 seconds to rewrite the history books! 105-year-old Rambai from Kadma in Charkhi Dadri, Haryana, stormed into the record books of Indian athletics when she completed the 100m race in 45.40 seconds, clinching Gold at the National Open Masters Athletics Championships in Vadodra.
The competition was organised by the Athletics Federation of India.
She had chopped off the record, which had been set by Man Kaur, who had won her race in 74 seconds at the World Masters at the age of 101, by almost 30 seconds. Man Kaur had set the record in 2017, and five years later Rambai smashed it in style.
At Vadodra, Rambai went on to win another Gold medal, when she won the 200m race, finishing with a time of 1 minute and 52.17 seconds.
The Beginning of the Journey
Born in 1917, Rambai’s journey on the track began only in 2021 and it was all thanks to her granddaughter, Sharmila Sangwan. She started running competitively at the age of 104, and said that she would have started earlier had there been a chance.
Rambai’s first tryst with athletics came in November 2021, in Varanasi, where three generations of her family travelled with her to watch her participate, and of course win medals!
After that, her granddaughter drove her to Badlapur, Nepal and Vadodra while they undertook train journeys to Kerala and Bangalore. Each competition saw her return with medals, stories and memories.
She lives in the village, where she trains by running in the fields. And it is only recently that things like track suits and running shoes become part of her life. Every time Rambai goes for competition, her granddaughter, also an athlete, drives down from the national capital to pick her up before they set off.
Just How Does She Do It?
Ask her that, and Rambai’s face lights up and a big smile appears, before she explains, that it’s all down to her nutritious diet. A vegetarian, she is particular about her diet, and mostly eats food that is grown in the village.
The champion athlete isn’t too fond of rice but likes bajre ki roti (flatbread made out of millet). She also has about half a kilogram of curd, a litre of milk and about 250 grams of ghee on a daily basis.
That apart, she regularly runs approximately 3-4 kilometres in the day, and puts in the hours in the field as well.
The young centurion isn’t planning on hanging up her boots just yet, and is keen to participate in international tournaments. Ask her where she wants to go, and pat comes the reply accompanied with a broad grin, “Wherever you (looking at her granddaughter, Sharmila) take me.”
It’s never too late to take up your spot at the top of the mark!
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