Master swimmers from across country took part in the three-day 14th Masters National Aquatic Championship held in Mysuru from November 1 to 3 at Chamundi Vidhar Stadium. Quite a good number of senior citizens who were part of the championship were found enthusiastically taking part in the event, organised by Karnataka Swimming Association. Couple of the senior participants have shared their experiences with City Express, thus:
Bicycles is only means of transport for this 82-year-old swimmer
She loves swimming, cycling, and scuba diving. She has won several awards and at National Athletics and National Aquatic Achievements; cycle and adventure sports. She is pedaling to educate populace about green initiatives.
Meet 82-year-old Dr Bhagawathi Oza, an practicing gynecologist from Vadodara, who is an inspirational for several adventure enthusiasts. She has received two consecutive prestigious awards for the category of Sports and Adventurous Activities namely the Vayoshreshth Samman by former President of India Pranab Mukherji in 2016 and Lifetime Achievement in 2017.
Selling her car, two wheelers, she choose to pedal 17 years ago. She has pedaled across country. Bicycles has been her only preferred means of transport for almost the last 15 years. For a green cause she has pedaled 3,000 km from Kolkata to Kanyakumari in 31 days in 2013 and has set a Limca book of Records. She says, she is very conscious of protection of environment and through pedaling she wants to spread the message among youngsters for conservation of nature.
After winning three gold medals at the Aquatic Championship held in Mysuru on Thursday, narrating about her journey, she said: “Coming from a family of conservative roots, it was not an easy go for Miss Bhagawathi Oza, to take any decisions. I decided to become doctor, and was the only girl in the medical college. Gradually, I started learning swimming. After I turned 65, I started taking part in the championships and mountaineering expedition. I love my life very much. One has to explore the boundaries and achieve in life. I always believed that a man without an aim is like a ship without a rudder and therefore every man should have an aim in life.”
For 52-year-old Rajendra N Dhamal, resident of Pune swimming was passion from childhood. Unfortunately, he met with an accident in 1997, and his right leg has been amputated above the knee.
Rajendra, who is rendering service in Police Department, met with an accident while giving escort for a Chief Minister vehicle. He is suffering from 80 per cent disability. Without losing hope, he decided to continue swimming and from last two years and started practicing swimming for rehabilitation (medical purpose) at Tilak Tank.
He is the only disabled person to take part in the aquatic championship in open category. Expressing happiness for being part of the championship, and visiting Mysuru for first time, he told: “This is my first visit to Mysuru, and I loved the city. Youngsters should be confident always, without losing hope. Water is a good therapy and swimming is very good for therapeutic exercise. It gives strength and helps for knee rehabilitation and strengthens back. I enjoy lot swimming and wish more number of people should learn swimming.”
Know fitness secret of this octogenarian
When people of his age complain about ortho problems, this 86-year-old Master Athlete Ramakrishna Aranak E Sanali from Maharashtra enjoys swimming and winning medals.
86-year-old Master Athlete Ramakrishna Aranak E Sanali from Maharashtra won three gold medals at the championship held in Mysuru.
Being senior most master swimmer to take part in the championships, he was found very enthusiastically taking part in the breast stroke, 100 m breast stroke, free style and back stroke events.
He is continuously taking part in the Championships from last ten years, and has won more than 25 gold medals at state and national -level championship. He has won several medals at the He has represented Indian twice at the International Competitions held in Canada (2014) and Hungary (2017). When questioned about secret of his fitness, he told its swimming. “From last 75 years am engaged in swimming. The day starts for me with swimming for an hour, and without it I will no do any work.”
Swimming has become part of my life
Swimming has become part of life for Lalitha Vijayaraghavan (67), a grand mother of five, and resident of Bengaluru. A native of Mysuru, Lalitha after winning a gold medal at the Championship under 65-69 category, going down the memory lane, said: “There was not so much encouragement for girls to learn swimming. But, my desire to learn swimming was growing day by day. One fine day, I stitched a swim suit dressed and jumped to water at the age of 14. Since then have never turned back and have taken part in several competitions and today, swimming has become part of my life.”
Lalitha who does swimming for nearly 1.5 hours, says, she is enjoying the wonderful life, and swimming, traveling is like tonic for her. She has even represented World Master International Swimming contest at San Francisco, and expressed proudness about her children Manu and Meera, who are national level swimmers and are settled in abroad.
Swimming helps to promote healthy life style
M Satish Kumar, Secretary, Karnataka Swimming Association said: “The event was initiated to promote healthy life style and competitive spirit among the adults. This is the fourth time we are conducting the championship and first time in Mysore.”
“When we first introduced the championship 13 years back we had only 200 swimmers from all over India. But this year we have around 1,100 registrations from across country. The highest participation is from Maharashtra Contingent with 155 participants in both men and women categories, followed by Karnataka with a contingent of 120 plus participants.”