His daily routine suggests age is just a number. He does his weight training and undergo a race walk of at least 18 km on alternate days, a strict regimen not many people follow even in their prime.
But it is not a hard task for this centenarian. Meet Commander (retired) V. Sriramulu, a former officer of the Indian Navy. The hoisting of the tricolour by the first Prime Minister of India Jawaharlal Nehru at Red Fort on August 15, 1947 and four big wars including World War II, the 1962 Chinese aggression, 1965 and the 1971 war with Pakistan, he has seen it all. And now, the 101-year-old is training for the Asian Masters Athletics Championship, scheduled to be held in Philippines in November this year and in the World Masters Athletic Championship (WMAC) in Sweden in 2024.
The Commander (retired) who has made Visakhapatnam his home celebrated his 101st birthday on July 18.
Apart from his Illustrious career in the Navy, he has made the country proud by winning a number of medals in the Asian and World Masters Athletic Championship (WMAC).
A bundle of energy and enthusiasm, Commander (retired) Sriramulu is a powerhouse when talks about his naval exploits or achievements on the track or field.
“I joined the Royal Indian Navy as an officer in 1944. After undergoing training at Karachi harbour, I was posted on minesweepers. Our job was to escort supply vessels as we had immense threats from Japanese submarines and warships,” reminisces Commander (retired) Sriramulu.
Having worked in Karachi, Trincomalee and Andaman Islands during World War II, he was drafted as an officer into the Indian Navy, post Independence.
“During the initial days of the 1971 conflict, I was posted on aircraft carrier INS Vikrant. When the war escalated in December, I was posted in Kochi from where missiles and ammunition were supplied for the attack on the Karachi harbour,” he says.
Being a navigation officer, post retirement in 1976, his services were extended by the Indian Navy for about four years. He settled down in Visakhapatnam after a stint of about eight years in the Dredging Corporation of India.
Love for sports
Commander (retired) Sriramulu has been an avid sportsman since his school days. “I played football and took part in various track and field events such as middle distance running, discus and javelin throw. During my stint in the Navy, I developed a penchant for yachting. I participated in many national, international and armed forces meets. Post retirement, I pursued my love for track and field events,” he says.
He participated in AMAC-2010 and won gold medals in 5 km race walk, and in 400, 800 and 1,500 metre races. He won a gold in 20 km race walk and silvers in 10 and 5km race walks in the 2011 edition of WMAC held at Sacramento, California, USA.
After surviving a knee injury from 2011 and 2015, he won three gold medal in 5, 10 and 20 km race walks in the 2016 edition of the WMAC held at Perth in Australia. So far, he has won two bronze, five silver and nine gold medals in the AMAC, and three silver and five gold medals in the WMAC.
But his hunger for medals does not seem to be satiated.
The war veteran also climbed Mount Kilimanjaro at the age of 81 and made two trips to the Everest Base Camp and the Pindari Glacier.
Like a true professional, he has charted out his training schedule. He sleeps at 7.30 p.m and hits the Beach Road by 3.15 a.m for his 18 km walk.
“Till about a couple of years ago, I was covering 6 km in 28 mins. Now, I do it in little less than an hour,” says Commander (retired) Sriramulu.
Talking about his diet, he says, “Gandhi ji (Mahatma Gandhi) had once said for every morsel one must question: ‘Do I need it?’ I strictly follow it. From the age of 45, my dinner has been just a glass of buttermilk which I have around 4.30 p.m. I do not eat after sunset. Hunger is psychological than physical,” he adds.