Jumping the age hurdle to carve a niche in athletics

Septuagenarian finishes first in 5km walk at national athletics tourney in Goa

After spending most part of her life in farming, raising crops and supplementing her family income, 73-year-old Mallempati Durga, who hails from Basvapuram village in Konijerla mandal, is now carving a niche for herself in veteran athletics with remarkable grit and unflinching passion.

Breaking the age barrier, the veteran athlete has brought laurels to the district by winning several medals in the State and national level master athletic championships in the past decade.

Adding another feather to her cap, Ms Durga won gold in 5km walk in the just concluded National Masters Athletic Championship-2019 in Goa. She clocked 42 minutes and 33 seconds and received wide appreciation, including a pat from District Collector R.V. Karnan when she called on him at the Collectorate here on Tuesday.

She has also bagged an opportunity to participate in the international athletics event to be held in Malaysia later this year.

The septuagenarian has consistently proved her mettle at the national level masters athletics circuit by winning the first place in 400 meters running race in 2014, third place in 200 meters race in 2016 and long jump in 2017.

Undeterred by age, she turns up at the Sardar Patel Stadium at the crack of dawn along with her husband Satyam, 84, himself a well known veteran athlete, for daily workout.

“Physical fitness is crucial for excelling in veteran athletics,” says Ms Durga.

Daily physical activity, balanced diet comprising leafy vegetables and fruits, besides a structured eating plan will help in maintaining fitness, says Ms Durga, grandmother of three.

I started morning walk as a routine more than a decade ago after shifting to Khammam along with my husband, she says, crediting her success in athletics events to encouragement from District Masters Athletics Association president Sambaiah and secretary N. Radhakrishna, and coach Ghouse. “I have an ambition to participate in an international tournament. Given sponsorship, I will prove my calibre,” she asserts.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 2:10:56 PM |

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