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A go-getter and gold medallist at 82

Big win:Bhagawati Oza with the her gold medal at the Masters National Aquatic Championship in Mysuru on Wednesday.M.A. Sriram

Big win:Bhagawati Oza with the her gold medal at the Masters National Aquatic Championship in Mysuru on Wednesday.M.A. Sriram  

Adventure enthusiast Oza shows how age is no bar to excel in outdoor sports

She loves scuba diving and swimming, has pedalled the length and breadth of the country and has even trained under famed mountaineer Tenzing Norgay. It goes without saying that she loves white water rafting. And, she won the national award for sports and adventure last year. …..

If that’s left you out of breath, age has certainly not stopped 82-year-old Bhagawati Oza, a practising gynaecologist from Vadodara, who is a compulsive adventure sports enthusiast and an inspiration to many.

Dr. Oza, who took to competitive games at the age of 65, was in Mysuru to participate in the 14th Masters National Aquatic Championship being held at the Chamundi Vihas Swimming Pool. “I love sports and as a medical professional, I used to accompany the mountaineering expedition teams to the Himalayas. Not many liked being in the mountains for months together, but I loved it,” said Dr. Oza, after bagging a gold in one of the events on Wednesday.

“Even in Vadodara, I cycle wherever I go to create greater environmental consciousness among the people,” she said. She stopped using four-wheelers from the age of 65 and took to cycling. She recently completed an expedition from Kolkata to Kanyakumari covering nearly 3,000 km on cycle, followed by another from Vadodara to the Wagah border. “I go on such expeditions almost every year,” she added.

Her fitness regime begins iwth her waking up at 4 a.m. and hitting the exercise floor to work out for nearly an hour. “Years ago, I injured my back so I have to work harder to keep myself fit,” she said.

Dr. Oza relishes her experiences as a government medical practitioner. “I have travelled on horse back, carts, and tractors to reach patients in remote villages,” she said. Having won scores of medals representing India in the various masters athletics and swimming events, Dr. Oza is not calling it quits and is eyeing another medal in the ongoing national events. A piece of advice from the octogenarian: “Learn to live with nature, follow your heart, and be a good citizen by following the rules.

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