Strikes gold at 92

Commander (Retd) Vallabhajosyula Sriramulu returned home in the city from France after winning gold in the 10-km speed walk for 90-94 year category at the World Masters Athletic Championships 2015.

August 25, 2015 12:00 am | Updated March 29, 2016 05:24 pm IST - VISAKHAPATNAM:

Vallabhajosyula Sriramulu showing the medal he won in the 10-km speed walk at the World Masters Athletic Championships held at Lyons in France.— PHOTO: C.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Vallabhajosyula Sriramulu showing the medal he won in the 10-km speed walk at the World Masters Athletic Championships held at Lyons in France.— PHOTO: C.V. SUBRAHMANYAM

Winning medals in international sports events at 92 is no mean feat. The challenge is to be able to complete the event without disqualification.

Commander (Retd) Vallabhajosyula Sriramulu returned home in the city from France after winning gold in the 10-km speed walk for 90-94 year category at the World Masters Athletic Championships 2015 held in Lyon from August 4 to 16.

“I participated in 5-km, 10-km and 20-km speed walk and could complete the 10-km walk and get the gold. While 20-km walk is my favourite I could not complete since I was disqualified from both 5-km and 20-km events,” Commander Sriramulu told The Hindu on Monday.

While walking in the athletic events, the contestant has to stick to some guidelines like both the feet should not be in the air together at any point of time, the walker has to ground the heel and every time the knee should lock, otherwise it is considered a run. Owing to this technicality, Cdr Sriramulu was disqualified in two events and his competitor from Germany was disqualified in the 10-km event.

“My chest swelled with pride to see the National Tricolour being hoisted at the medal award ceremony after the event, but it was disappointing to see a nondescript volunteer presenting the medal,” he recalled. There is no sponsorship for the senior events and the participant has to pay for everything. The event had 8,059 representatives from 98 countries, including 2,505 women. Interestingly there were three men competing in pole vault event in 95-99 year category.

Very conscious of his fitness, the 92-year-old does weight training at home and is a regular walker. Cdr Sriramulu, who retired from Indian Navy in 1975, worked from some time in Dredging Corporation of India. Noting his approach to walking, the then district veteran sports association secretary, Tripura Sundara Rao, encouraged him to participate in the senior sports events, he recalled. He has been participating in veteran and now masters level athletic meets and winning awards.

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