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Updated: December 16, 2013 11:00 IST

Madurai's veteran athlete still runs at 70-plus

D. J. Walter Scott
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A. Posalan with his medals at Karaikudi in Sivaganga district. Photo: L. Balachandar
The Hindu A. Posalan with his medals at Karaikudi in Sivaganga district. Photo: L. Balachandar

Having won a bagful of gold and silver medals in seven national and Asian veteran athletic meets, A. Posalan is warming up to create a new national record at the national veterans athletic championship to be held in Coimbatore in February next in the 70-plus age category. He has specialised in the hop step and jump (triple jump).

Shamshar Singh of Punjab has been record holder since the year 2000 after he had cleared 8.69 meters in triple jump in the 70-plus category. “I am confident of breaking the record and set a new record as I am already clearing 9.30 to 9.40 meters,” says Mr. Posalan, practising jumps at the Alagappa College of Physical Education grounds.

After the national meet, he was planning to take part in the Asian veteran athletic meet to be held in Japan in October or November next year but faced a stiff competition.

“I have to practise more vigorously to beat existing Asian record held by Ito Seji of Korea, after clearing 10.61 meters. It’s a huge task but I will try my best,” he says.

He was mobilising funds for the trip. The state government was expected to bear the flight charges of about Rs 60,000, he said.

Posalan, an eighth standard dropout, took to sports at the age of 10.

After dropping out from school, he was playing football and his life changed after he joined Corborundum Universal Ltd, a Murugappa Group company in Thiruvotriyur when he left his native Karaikudi to meet his cousin in north Chennai.

On seeing his interest in sports, the company had encouraged him to take part in the state athletic meet held in Coimbatore in the 40-plus category and then in the national events. When he created a new national record at the XI national veteran athletic championship in Bhopal in April 1989, jumping 12.11 in the 45 plus category, he was the unanimous choice to represent India in the world meet.

As the meet was scheduled to be held at Oregon Portland in the US, he gave up hope and busy with his lathe machine, when the company surprised him with the sponsor offer. The Murugappa group sponsored his trip, spending Rs 42,000 but he could get only the fourth place clearing 12.50 meter.

After retiring from CUMI in 1996, he continued jumping, taking part in the events, including the Asian meet held in Seoul with government sponsoring his trip.

Insufficient funds

In the 34th national meet held in Bangalore last year, he had cleared 10.65 meters in the 65 plus category and was selected for the world meet to be held in Argentina, but could not make it for want of funds. The state government offered Rs.1.10 lakhs, but the expenses was about Rs.two lakhs, he said.

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