Nearly 180 veterans will converge on SDAT Ground at Nehru Park today for an athletic meet. Liffy Thomas reports
Today, the SDAT Ground at Nehru Park on Poonamalle High Road will be a beehive of activity. Nearly 140 men and 40 women will be competing in the annual District Masters Athletic Meet organised by the Chennai Masters Athletic Association.
The one-day event will see senior sportsmen and women take part in 18 field-and-track events. Each can participate in maximum of three.
Family members, including grandchildren, are expected to witness the veterans battle it out.
After it was conducted at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for six years, the meet has been moved to a new venue. Renovation work at the stadium, which is by far the best in the city, had stalled many events there. For some, it will be a challenge as they will be put to the test on an unfamiliar ground.
However, Coach M.V. Rajasekhar feels this change should not make a big difference. Compared to the Nehru Stadium, the present ground does not have a shelter or a warm-up area and it is mainly preferred as a training ground.
Eighty nine-year-old John Devasir and 82-year-old Daisy Victor are among the oldest members who practise regularly for the event.
This is Mrs. Victor’s 102nd athletic meet, and she will be participating in 100 meters, triple jump and short put. Last year, she participated in six meets and won medals in all of them. “By the grace of God, I am in good health and able to participate in events,” says Daisy, who still travels by public transport.
Daisy and John have encouraged a number of youngsters by staying fit and active. “During vacations, I offer free training to children in my neighbourhood and many women have taken to walking after seeing me,” says the grandmother of 13.