Veteran athletes inspire youth

Youngsters who sweat at the very thought of performing physical work should watch them in action.

Small activities are not their kind- they would any day prefer a cross country race, running about 10 km at one go, maybe jump with all their strength metres high or ahead, or even throw a discus, a javelin or a shut put ball.

On Saturday, people gathered at the district Sir M Visvesvaraya Stadium, eager to watch the events at the two-day 34th Veterans’ Sports Meet, could only watch in amazement at the sheer strength of will hidden in the lean bodies of the senior citizens. Anybody who had wished to watch ‘something else’ at the district stadium, however, was utterly disappointed- the veterans refused to look at the clock, but continued at their respective events.

Statewide

Sportspersons from all over the State were to be found participating in the meet organised for athletes whose age ranged from 35 to 85 years.

The meet was inaugurated by Zilla Panchayat president Chowdeshwari and flagged off with the sports flag by former minister K Srinivas Gowda.

The 10,000 m cross country race for men of all age limits and the 5,000 m long distance run for women was started from Bellambari in the taluk at 7 am, before it turned too sunny on Saturday. Drivers of vehicles made way for the athletes- not really out of respect for the age, but more because they were astonished at the sight of the veterans running with an unconquerable spirit.

The athletes, were again, focused only on their goal. No hurdle, maybe even the poor condition of the roads, was a hurdle to their spirit.

Meanwhile, the other events were started at the stadium.

There was a round of discus throw, 800 m and 100 m sprint. Post inauguration, the high jump, 200 m sprint and the javelin throw were also conducted.

The five km walk for men was started at 5 pm at the stadium. The presence of men of all ages participating in the event was a little odd, but no doubt unique and definitely inspiring.

‘More funds’

The State government should provide enough grants to the State-level veterans’ sports meet, to promote and popularise it, said former minister K Srinivas Gowda.

“The senior sportspersons, have, after all, set a model for young and aspiring athletes,” he added.

He flagged off the 34th State-level Veterans’ Sports Meet, organised jointly by the Karnataka Masters’ Athletic Association and the District Masters’ Athletic Association.
“Regular and continued involvement in sports obviously helps keep oneself fit. This is especially important for senior citizens,” said the former minister.

“The government, however, is spending too little on such health-related programmes for senior citizens,” he added.

Hosting an event

“The sports meet has attracted senior athletes from all over the State. This should prove to be an inspiration for junior athletes,” he said, adding that one should also acknowledge the efforts taken by the district administration to host the sports meet appreciably. “I hope the athletes from the district do us proud.”

Zilla Panchayat president Chowdeshwari inaugurated the sports meet.
Additional Superintendent of Police H R Bhagavan Das, DySP Srihari Baragur, Youth Services and Sports Department assistant director B Rudrappa, and others were present on the occasion.

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