103 years old Sardarni Man Kaur still actively runs on the track. Photos: Google

India’s oldest athlete was in Kuching for the 21st Asia Masters Athletics Championship. At 103 years old, Sardarni Man Kaur had lived a century and is still living life through her passion for sports.

Man Kaur during the recent 21st Asia Masters Athletics Championship 2019 held in Kuching. Photos: Nurul Fazlyn

As a young girl, Sardarni Man Kaur, 103, did not receive any education. However, her late father taught her to read and write in her mother tongue Punjabi. She also studied the Sikh scripture. Before being a full-time housewife in 1934, Man Kaur served the Queens of King of her hometown, Patiala in the early 30s.

Wanting her to maintain a fit lifestyle, eldest son Gurdev Singh had asked his mother to run the track field. “She had no problems doing so at the age of 93 in 2009,” he said.

Ever since then, she enjoyed running and had quickly improved. Two years later, she joined her first competition.

With three children on board, the centenarian represented India in the World Masters Athletic Championship held in the US where she had won two gold medals in the 100- and 200-metre races. From there, she had broken the existing world record and was declared Athlete of the Year 2011.

Apart from running, she also participates in javelin and shot put. The energetic lady had won more than 80 medals from various countries.

Daily routine

Man Kaur gets up in the wee morning between 5am and 6am. She immediately bathes, and washes her clothes by hand. “As Sikh Scriptures say the Almighty is residing in all human beings, so I serve Him by washing his clothes, offering good food and exercising to keep His house liveable,” the devout said.

When she was 50, Man Kaur started practising a vegan diet lifestyle. Gurdev curated her eating lifestyle according to nutritional needs. Hence, when she wakes up, the first thing she drinks is a glass of 300 millimetres of kefir. “Then I go for training.”

During lunch and dinner, she eats chapatis made from sprouted wheat. When thirsty, she will drink soy milk and tea made from different tree leaves. “I also eat some nuts and seeds.”

103 years old Sardarni Man Kaur still actively runs on the track. Photos: Google

“I feel good and thank God for giving me such type of body,” said Man Kaur. However, she is thankful for having lived with her husband until several years ago when he died at the age of 102.

When asked to compare the lifestyle of decades ago to now, Man Kaur simply said that before there were not much to desire. “Whatever we had we felt happy. No ill will against anyone. We lived in harmony with different communities.” She also added that fresh food before was without fertilisers or gardening sprays. 

In August this year, Man Kaur was diagnosed with gallbladder sludge. Doctors had recommended the removal of the gallbladder. Being a believer of homoeopathic medicine, Man Kaur was treated and had no problem until today.

“Otherwise she never took any medicine for the last so many years,” said her son, Gurdev. Man Kaur also suffers from spine scoliosis at the lower level. While she feels difficult when walking, she had no problem running. Nonetheless, it is not an obstacle for her to move forward with sports.

Gurdev Singh

Being Man Kaur’s cheerleader, manager, interpreter, trainer Gurdev was a member of the football team and the athletic team of his school and college. Apart from that, he also runs.

Her son, Gurdev Singh is Man Kaur’s cheerleader. Photos: Google

To date, Gurdev has more than 80 racing medals won since 1992. After graduating, he served in the Punjab Agricultural University as Senior Technical Assistant but after eight years of service resigned and started a photocopying business.

As his mother’s nutritional advisor, Gurdev, who prepares the food disclosed that he also eats the same diet as his mother.