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Standing tall – from a wheelchair

Capt Seshadri tells us the extraordinary story of Para-Olympian Deepa Malik who brought home the silver medal from Rio, in 2016.

This is a saga of unbelievable courage and the will to win against all odds. Set in the backdrop of the Kargil war, when a brave army Colonel was fighting for his country, back home, his wife was fighting for her life.

This is the true story of a woman with indomitable spirit, who simply refused to give up.  Army daughter, army wife and mother of two, Deepa Malik was diagnosed with a tumour in the spinal cord that required 3 major surgeries and 183 stitches between her shoulders. Paralyzed from below the waist, she was destined to be consigned to a wheelchair for life. Her elder daughter was in need of special care with a motor disability called hemiplegia. But nothing could daunt this extraordinary woman who simply refused to look helplessly upon life as a paraplegic. While most able bodied sports persons would be content with success in a single sport, Deepa began a multi-faceted sports career at 36, an age when most sportspeople retire.  Over the next few years, she became a champion biker, swimmer, rally driver and athlete, creating and breaking records in every sport that she attempted.

The Unstoppable Spirit 

Her old passion for biking was rekindled and, with a ‘quad’ bike modified to her specifications, she enrolled with the Himalayan Motorsports Association and the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India. Over an 8 day period, in rarefied atmosphere and sub zero temperatures, at an altitude of 18,000 feet, she rode her bike through 1,700 km, the first woman to undertake such an arduous journey. In 2013, Deepa biked 3,278 km from Chennai to Delhi, the longest ever drive by a paraplegic woman.

Discovering that her shoulders needed strengthening to help with her biking, she took to swimming, little realizing what she was about to achieve. In her S1 category, she holds national records in 3 styles – freestyle, breast and back stroke. Breaking away from the limitation of a swimming pool, she plunged into the Yamuna river and swam against the current for a distance of 1 km.

Her competitive spirit soon turned to a new area. For 19 months, Deepa relentlessly fought for a licence for an invalid person’s modified rally vehicle and followed it up with an FMSCI rallying licence for competitive driving, both firsts for any physically challenged person. Her grit and determination saw her complete two of the toughest rallies in the world – the Raid de Himalaya in 2009 and the Desert Storm in 2010.

The Big Win

In 2016, at age 46, Deepa won a silver in the Paralympics in the shot put, becoming the first Indian woman to win a medal in these Games. Currently, she holds national records in the F53 category in the shot put, discus and javelin throws and the Asian record in the javelin. Between 2010 and 2012, Deepa was ranked first in Asia in all the three throws; at the world level, she ranked second in the shot put and third in the javelin and discus throws.

Overall, Deepa Malik has won 58 national and 18 international medals in various disciplines. Not one to rest on her laurels, she also actively works to highlight the needs of other paraplegic sportspersons to the authorities, with great success. For her achievements in swimming, she won the Arjuna Award in 2012. Her untiring work in contributing to sport and her fighting spirit against pain and disability to make a mark on the world stage, won her the prestigious Padma Shri award in 2017.

Deepa had this to say on winning her 2016 Paralympics silver: “I hope my journey and the medal can serve as an inspiration for differently-abled individuals to break out from their social boundaries and pursue their dreams.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Capt Seshadri Sreenivasan is a former armed forces officer with over 30 years experience in marketing. He also a consulting editor with a leading publishing house. He is a co-author of the best selling biography of astronaut Sunita Williams.

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The high jumper who never looked down

 

This is a story of extreme determination and courage is what defines Mariyappan Thangavelu’s story. Capt Seshadri explores his extraordinary journey.

A chronicle of the extraordinary achievements of an ordinary boy, one of six children, hailing from a little village in Salem District of Tamil Nadu, undaunted by disability, pain and the odds that were stacked against him.

When Life Changed

A little boy, five years of age, while on the way to school, was hit by a drunk truck driver. The huge wheels ran over his little leg, crushing the bones below the knee and making it virtually unusable. This was a child whose labourer father had abandoned the family, which was now dependent for a livelihood on their mother, who earned a paltry 100 rupees a day carrying bricks at construction sites. Fifteen years later, the same young lad who had never considered himself different from anyone else, had completed not just his schooling, but had also graduated in Business Administration.

While in school, he excelled in volleyball; however, his physical instructor, spotting a special ability in him, encouraged him to take to high jumping. Such was his motivation and confidence, that at age 16, he placed second in a high jump competition among a host of able bodied competitors.

The High Jumper 

In 2013, Mariyappan Thangavelu, the young high jumper, was spotted by Mr Satyanarayana, a coach with the Sports  Academy of India for the differently abled who, a couple of years later, took him under his wing and moved him to Bengaluru, for specialised and intensive training. The move proved extremely fruitful. The journey to fame was from Tamil Nadu to Tunisia for the IPC Grand Prix, where he cleared a height of 1.78 metres ( 5 ft 10 in) in the men’s high jump T 42 event, qualifying him for the Rio Paralympics. The young man was apparently not satisfied with this performance. In Rio in 2016, he raised the bar to clear 1.89 metres (6 ft 2 in) to win gold, a feat that had not been achieved since 2004. ‘Master Blaster’ Sachin Tendulkar was so impressed by his performance that he set up a sports fund for his benefit.

Today, Mariyappan remains simple, humble and committed to his roots. Part of his prize money funded a paddy field and a better home for his mother. In his mind he still remains a village boy, seeking the continued affection of his old friends and shunning the formality that comes from such success.

Born: 28 June 1995 in Periavadagampatti village, Salem District, Tamil Nadu.

Achievement: Paralympic Gold – 2016, Padma Shri and Arjuna Awards – 2017.

Headlines: Plans by Aishwarya Dhanush to make a movie on his life.

Aspiration: to complete an MBA soon.

This is the inspiring and exemplary story of Mariyappan Thangavelu. For him, the bar is never too high.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Capt Seshadri Sreenivasan is a former armed forces officer with over 30 years experience in marketing. He also a consulting editor with a leading publishing house. He is a co-author of the best selling biography of astronaut Sunita Williams.

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The Queen of Indian Track and Field

The legendary runner, P T Usha, loved by millions and an inspiration to all athletes in the 80s, was known as the Payyoli Express. Capt Seshadri profiles the prolific runner. 

Kerala. God’s own country. A land of lush green forests, sprawling backwaters and a pristine coastline. Somewhere along the Malabar Coast of Kerala lies the quiet town of Payyoli. And through this town runs an express. An express that does not run on steam, diesel or electricity. An express, however, that has won 101 gold medals internationally.

Pilavullakandi Thekkeparambil Usha better known to India and the world simply as PT Usha, hailing from this little town, earned the title of the “Payyoli Express” through her immortal achievements on the athletics track. Such is her fame and popularity that not just streets but even babies are named after her.

The early 1980s were not a particularly conducive period for Indian athletes, far less a woman. International training facilities and experienced coaches were virtually unknown. Exposure to the world arena was very limited and there was a complete lack of scientific management. In this scenario, Usha started running at the age of 13. As early as in Class VII, she was so quick that she would beat the then District champion. During her training sessions, she would request male athletes to pace for her; however, they never asked her to pace for them, afraid that they might not be able to match her!

Motivation and training, both of which were largely self-developed, were crucial to success even at the National level. There was abundance of talent but no means to channelise it, recalls Usha. To quote her: ““After many years of experience in athletics, I am convinced that what we lack in India is not talent, but the basic, modern and scientific facilities. If we train our young Indian sports talents, nothing, not even Olympic medals, is unachievable.” She dedicates her achievements to her coach and mentor, OM Nambiar who, in 1985, won the Dronacharya Award for his contribution to Indian athletics.

Dwelling on the past, she recalls how she could have made it big in the Los Angeles Olympics if only she had had the opportunity to participate and benefit from more international exposure. Nevertheless, she became the first ever Indian woman to reach an Olympics finals, winning the 400 metres hurdles semi-finals in 1984. She rues the manner in which she lost the bronze by 1/100th of a second, simply because she didn’t lunge at the tape. She was not used to it, simply because she would usually win most of her races by margins of 10 m.

To crown a glorious athletic career, in 2002, after her retirement from active competition, PT Usha strongly felt the need to take sport to the grassroots level and train and share her experience with budding young talent. Hence was conceived the ‘Usha School of Athletics’ focussed on girl athletes who, she firmly believes, have the potential to bring home Olympic golds. Her school has 18 girls, mostly from underprivileged backgrounds, living on the residential campus, schooling during the day and training for over 5 hours every day, in the mornings and evenings. Funding comes purely from individual donations, but that does not deter Usha from pursuing her ambition and goals.

At a time when India was virtually unknown in international athletics, the Payyoli Express stood out as a shining example of what determination and hard work could achieve against all odds. An icon and a living legend, PT Usha swept the 100, 200, and 400 metres, the 400 metres hurdles, and the 4 x 400 metres relay at the 1985 Asian Track and Field Championship in Indonesia, pushing India up from 14th to 4th place in the overall championship list. Usha was honoured the same year with the Padma Shree and Arjuna awards.

The Payyoli Express, who still jogs unfailingly every morning, expresses her anguish at the dropping fitness levels in kids. The best way to get them fit is to organise family games like football, basketball and running, she feels. Dwelling on the bad food habits of today’s children, she talks about how she used to eat large quantities of potatoes for her carb requirement. The how the food in LA during the 1984 Olympics was so bland that she carried a bottle of pickles to add to her food!

When she is not running or training her wards, Usha loves watching movies and to clean and cook. Quite natural to her roots, fish curry is her favourite food. Simplicity personified, humble and humane, PT Usha has etched a name in Indian athletics that will stay in memory for a long time to come.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Capt Seshadri Sreenivasan is a former armed forces officer with over 30 years experience in marketing. He also a consulting editor with a leading publishing house. He is a co-author of the best selling biography of astronaut Sunita Williams

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Jumping long, aiming high

Michael  Powell, is an Olympian who was a former track and field athlete, and is the holder of the long jump world record. Capt Seshadri profile the phenomenal athlete who was the a brand ambassador for the TSK25 Kolkata 2017

At 77 kilos, he was as light as a feather. He too could float like a butterfly, an attribute that belonged to another legend from his country, although of a different kind of sport.

This is the story of a world beating athlete who rediscovered himself. In April 2013, 17 years after retirement, he was invited to participate in a charity long jump event in Japan. Among the crowd was none other than his former foe, the legendary Carl Lewis. By then 35 kilos heavier than his normal weight, at a hefty 112 kg, and in no way fit to compete, he was disconsolate after faring badly against virtually unknown amateurs. Urged by one of his closest friends and former world triple jump record holder Willie Banks, to train back into shape, stunned by his own lack of fitness and now spurred into action, he returned to his home in California a completely changed man. A mere year and a half later, down to a trim 83 kg, he announced his ambitions of going for the World Masters long jump record. “Fat doesn’t fly and now I’m lighter it is about me getting that masters record,” says he. If he achieves this, he will be the only athlete to hold the World and Masters records in a single event.

This is the story of Mike Powell. The man who broke Bob Beamon’s ‘leap of the century’ by 5 cm, flying through the air to 8.95 m at the 1991 World Championships in Athletics in Tokyo, in the process, pushing ‘King’ Carl to second place. For his stupendous feat, he was rewarded with the James E. Sullivan Award and the BBC Overseas Sports Personality of the Year Award, the same year. In 1992, at Sestriere in Italy, he almost cleared 9m with a jump of 8.99 m, but the record did not stand as it was considered wind aided. However, as the years passed, he had to be satisfied with a silver in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, the gold in 1993 and the bronze at the 1995 World Championships in Athletics.

Mike Powell was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, but moved to study at Edgewood High School in West Covina, California. He went on to attend the University of California, Irvine and later transferred to the University of California at Los Angeles. He is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Apart from his scholarly pursuits and his athletics career, his feat in basketball is a successful dunk from the free throw line in the 1992-93 Foot Locker Slam Fest! With music as his love and dancing being both his passion and a way of staying fit, he has even been a popular DJ!

Powell, who now coaches budding long jumpers at Academy of Speed in Rancho Cucamonga, California, is a brand ambassador for the TSK25 Kolkata 2017. He has very fond memories of India, the people, their enthusiasm and warmth, also recalling in lighter vein, the warmth of the weather.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Capt Seshadri Sreenivasan is a former armed forces officer with over 30 years experience in marketing. He also a consulting editor with a leading publishing house. He is a co-author of the best selling biography of astronaut Sunita Williams

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The ‘Late’ Runner – Kip Keino

In our continuing series of legends in distance running, Capt Seshadri talks about the Kenyan distance runner Kipchoge Keino, nicknamed “The Flying Policeman”. 

It was the Mexico Olympics of 1968. A champion middle distance runner, was suffering from gallstones, and had been warned by doctors not to participate, as he might be putting his life at risk. He was not one to pay heed. Running the 10,000 m, suffering from severe exhaustion, he nearly collapsed on the track with just three laps to go and, in the process, disqualified himself by stepping off the track. Pain and disqualification notwithstanding, he stepped back and completed the race. Just two days later, ignoring his pain, he won silver in the 5,000 m, where he finished a mere fifth of a second behind the gold medalist.

Having also qualified on the same evening for the 1,500 m finals, on the day of the finals, after having tried to sleep off his ache and discomfort, he woke up an hour before the event and just about made it to the bus that was leaving for the venue. Stuck in traffic on the way and realising that he would be late for the event, he got off the bus and ran the remaining 3 km to the stadium, carrying his kit with him. Starting his event just 20 minutes or so after reaching the stadium, he raced to the 1,500 m gold, beating the silver medal winner, the then world record holder and title favourite, American Jim Ryun, by an unbelievable 20 m. To this day, it is not clear whether such a large margin has ever been seen between winner and runner in this event at any Olympics. Four years later, at the Munich Olympics, he won the steeplechase gold and the 1,500 m silver, thus winning almost every conceivable middle distance race.

It started here

Kipchoge Hezekiah Keino was born in Kenya on January 17, 1940. His incredible career in international athletics began at the Commonwealth Games in Perth in 1962, where he acquitted himself reasonably well, although he did not win any medals. His quest for gold fructified in 1965, at the All Africa Games where he broke the world record for the 3,000 m by over 6 seconds. Incidentally, he had never competed over that distance before. Later the same year, he shattered Ron Clarke’s 5,000 m world record in a time of 13:42.2.

As a child, Kip Keino went to a school around 4 miles from his home. From the tender age of five, in primary school, till he finished high school, he would run to class every morning, run home for lunch and back to school again, before sprinting home again in the evening. That worked out to an amazing 16 miles a day. And all of it barefoot under a scorching African sun! It is widely believed that Kip Keino was a fitness instructor in the Army and could have possibly trained using calisthenics. Although there very few documented reports about his schedule, some contend that he only ran around 60 or 70 miles a week, even taking off days every now and then.

Kenya’s Kip

Kip’s contribution to Kenyan athletics goes far beyond winning medals for his country. Years later, he remains an inspiration for hundreds of men and women athletes from his country who continue to make and break records in the world arena.

In his home town of Eldoret in Kenya, Kipchoge Keino, ably supported by his wife Phyllis, has established the Lewa Children’s Home, an institution for orphans, and the Kip Keino primary and secondary schools. For his dedication towards working with orphans, he was conferred with Sports Illustrated magazine’s “Sportsmen and Sportswomen of the Year” award in 1987, and characterized as one among “Athletes Who Care”. In 1996, he was inducted into the World Sports Humanitarian Hall of Fame.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

 

Capt Seshadri Sreenivasan is a former armed forces officer with over 30 years experience in marketing. He also a consulting editor with a leading publishing house. He is a co-author of the best selling biography of astronaut Sunita Williams

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Meeting a Legend – Linford Christie

Sandilya Venkatesh caught up with legendary runner, Linford Christie in New Delhi and he can’t stop smiling. 

Linford Christie is as large a man in person as his name is in the world of athletics. When he walks into the room he casts a shadow befitting his 6ft 2 inch frame which even at 57 years is in excellent shape.  I found a fitting definition to describe why he is a considered legend on Wikipedia

He is the only British man to have won gold medals in the 100 metres at all four major competitions open to British athletes: the Olympic Games, the World Championships, the European Championships and the Commonwealth Games.
I got a chance to catch up with him at a small dinner organised on the sidelines of the Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2017 which he attended as the PUMA Legends Brand ambassador. The first thing I spoke to him about was his disqualification in 1996 at the Atlanta Olympics, where he was a favourite to win and was to be his swan song. I did regret leading with that statement of course, but the incredibly composed Christie fielded it with a beaming grin and poise. He did regret that he could not run that race, but chalked it up to the travails of the job – “That’s the sport – it happens sometimes” he said with such comfort and ease that one would think that it didn’t matter.
Training to be Christie
Fortunately, I moved on to his training and nutrition. With 3 – 6 hours of training every day, his routine was a grueling schedule. So much so that he would want to give up the sport every time he completed a meet. But like all good sportsmen, he would get back to the sport to continue the good work or I wondered aloud if he was a masochist? He laughs it off with equal ease. Interestingly, his nutrition was not anything much different during training as it was off. He doesn’t touch alcohol as expected. But he also doesn’t touch red meat and actively dislikes beef steaks. His primary protein sources are chicken and fish.
He continues to be built like a body builder – in his active years he was considered one of the most muscular sprinters and an example of a power athlete. Even though he was in full sleeved shirts or sweat shirts through out the weekend, his biceps were clearly visible and the size of shot puts. To the question on current fitness and exercise routine, he talked about how he is completely injury and pain free and continues to lift weights like people half his age in the the gym. That wasn’t surprising at all!
The legend now
For now, he enjoys contributing to the sport in the form of coaching and training. When asked about the nature of the sport and how it has changed, he talked about how everything has become so scientific these days and how that has unfortunately led to a lack of longevity of athletes. Usain Bolt however was the exception but also someone who, because of his sheer dominance of the sport, simply suppressed everyone else. Even though sprinters like Asafa Powell, Tyson Gay or Justin Gatlin were all outstanding athletes, they were unable to shine due to Usain’s undisputed presence, he opined.
He now spends a lot of time with “Street Athletics“, a sports initiative to get under privileged children into sport. For someone who has achieved such great heights in his sport, he is incredibly humble and down to earth. Talking to him, gives you a sense that you could win the Olympic gold too – if that’s not inspiring, then what is?
If you want to read more about Christie’s achievements you can visit https://goo.gl/GJcKK2
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sandilya Venkatesh is the founder of Eventjini and the Executive Editor of Finisher Magazine who is always excited about running and making others run.

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Look who is running the ADHM 2017

Airtel Delhi Half Marathon 2017 attracts elite runners from across the world. Nandini Reddy profiles six of the best runners at the event this year who you should definitely meet. 

The best marathon runners of our time will be at the ADHM this year. So if you want to meet the ones who inspire millions every year with their enviable timings and unbeatable endurance skills, then you should be at the ADHM start and finish line this year. I am profiling six of the best men and women runners who will be at the start line of the ADHM marathon this year.

Geoffrey Kirui

Geoffrey Kirui is a Kenyan long-distance runner who has run in cross-country races, track races and road marathons across the world. Kirui started his winning streak in 2011, when he won gold at the African Junior Athletics Championship in the 10,000m race. Kirui is the current reigning champion of the World Championships in marathon with a time of 2:08:27 hours. This Boston Marathon 2017 winner is the first Kenyan to win the race after a drought of many years. His specialties include 10000 m, 3000 m, 5000 m, Cross, Half Marathon, Marathon, and Cross team event.

Tamirat Tola

This Ethiopian long distance runner boasts of having the top six finishes in the 2015 IAAF World Cross Country Championships and 2016 IAAF World Half Marathon Championships. Tola made his half marathon debut in 2013 and made a quick climb to a  marathon debut with a time of 2:06:17 hours for fourth at the high-profile Dubai Marathon. Several good performances on the circuit in late 2015/early 2016 led to wins at the Cross Internacional de Itálica, Cross International de la Constitución, Boclassic and Great Ethiopian Run. The 26 year old runner won his first Olympic bronze in the 10,000 m race at Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Tola broke the Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon 2017 course record, clocking 2:04:11 at the IAAF Gold Label Road Race,

Alex Korio

This year’s TCS Bangalore World 10Kwinner , Kenyan Alex Korio clocked a stunning time of 28:12 minutes. The Elite runner specializes in track and road running and has competed in several prestigious half marathon’s clocking in a career best time of 58:51 minutes this year at the Copenhagen Half Marathon. Korio is placed 7th in the world ranking for men’s road running and is a favourite at half marathon events.

Almaz Ayana

This Ethiopian born, long distance runner is a fan favourite and has made it a habit to break records. Ayana broke the 10,000 metres world record, set in 1993, while winning the gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. She ran the 10,000 m competitively for the first time at the June 2016 Ethiopian Olympic trials in Hengelo, Netherlands where she posted the fastest ever debut time of 30:07. Ayana also took home the gold in the World Championships 2017, for the 10,000m.

Worknesh Degefa

Degefa is an Ethiopian long distance runner who has won several half marathon’s worldwide. Her first win was the Yangzhou Jianzhen Half Marathon which she completed in 1:08:43 hours. Lisbon Half Marathon,  Gothenburgsvarvet and Prague Half Marathon are a few of her recent wins. Degefa debuted and won the prestigious Dubai marathon this year in the women’s race with a timing of 2:22:36 hours.

Paskalia Chepkorir

This Kenyan long distance runner is the most popular female runner in the half marathon circuit. Chepkorir’s debut into the world of running began in 2003 with her first silver win at the World Youth Championships in Athletics. Her half marathon career started in 2008 and she has competed and won in some of the most elite races across the world including the Berlin Half Marathon, Nairobi Half Marathon, Udine Half Marathon and the Corrida Internacional de São Silvestre. She is one of the top ten runners for 10K runs with a timing of 30:57 minutes. Her personal best in the half marathon has been 67:17 minutes.

These impressive elite runners set new benchmarks with their achievements every year. Get a chance to meet them when you run the ADHM this weekend.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

IMG_20171011_095150

 

An irregular runner who has run in dry, wet, high altitude and humid conditions. Loves to write a little more than run so now is the managing editor of Finisher Magazine.

 

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Gurubux Singh: An Olympian’s Tale

Capt. Seshadri talks about an Olympic gold medal winner, Gurubux Singh, who has been an inspiration for many with his positive attitude.

As the early morning sun peeps over the eastern horizon, it catches in its orange and purple rays the moving shadows and silhouettes of people against the green earth the open spaces. This is Kolkata, the city of joy.

One man, among the numerous walkers and runners, seeking their daily dose of physical salvation, stands tall. His upright gait and steady pace stands him out from among the rest. All of 82 years young, this former Olympic gold medallist and captain of the victorious hockey team of the 1960s sets an outstanding example for people over six decades younger to follow.

The Beginning

Born in pre-partition Peshawar, Gurbux Singh, son of an army officer, was a surprise recruit to hockey, having been Gurbux Singhweaned on badminton in his early teens, after the family moved to Patna. His hockey career commenced in Indore where he represented his college and then came to the fore in the nationals in Chennai where he represented what was then known as Madhya Bharat.

In 1964, Gurbux Singh found his moment of glory as part of the Indian hockey team that won Olympic gold in Tokyo. Subsequently, he was to be part of six Olympics: as player and captain between 1964 and 1976 and later as coach and selector and even as a television commentator at the Sydney Games in 2006. In a golden career spanning two decades, he had the fortune of associating with legends like Dhyan Chand, KD Singh Babu, Udham and Prithipal Singh. And of playing against the most formidable opponents in the world… Germany, Netherlands, England, Australia and of course, arch rivals Pakistan.

Those were days when the players received a pittance as allowance and even shoes and hockey sticks had to be bought by them. Foreign exchange was a whispered word. The federation did not even have money for medals and awards. There was no regular fitness routine or diet regimen. No doctors, no physios no masseurs. Most often, the players themselves acted out these variegated roles on one another, from their own experience.

Legends who inspire

For motivation, they sang songs on the team bus and in their hotel rooms. For diet, they ate what they thought was best for them. And for fitness, they ran. They ran to warm up, they ran while at play and they ran to cool down. Theygs1 ran because that was the only way they knew how to stay fit. And after running to warm up, they ran with their hockey sticks, on fields of clay and mud, dribbling and passing, stopping and scooping, and practicing scoring goals. They had little or no issues of injury, or problems of illness. And after a grueling routine of practice, they relaxed to songs on pocket transistors and took photographs on cameras with the old 72 frame rolls.

The story of legends like Gurbux Singh and his colleagues are the stuff of folklore. Or at least they ought to be. As an inspiration to the younger generation, Gurbux has this to say: “Play for your country, not for money and fame. These will unfailingly follow your success”.

“And run. Run for fitness, run for glory, run for life.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Capt Seshadri Sreenivasan is a former armed forces officer with over 30 years experience in marketing. He also a consulting editor with a leading publishing house. He is a co-author of the best selling biography of astronaut Sunita Williams

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