“No one can stop me now,” the 105-year-old Rambai said in an emphatic tone. It was understandable. After all how many centenarian can compete and win a 100m sprint.
Through sheer will and determination, Rambai, a native of Kadma village in Charkhi Dadri district in Haryana, clocked a record timing of 45.40 seconds in the 100m event.
The ‘Grand Old Lady’ of Indian athletics actually clinched a ‘Golden Double’ by winning the 100m race as well as the 200m run in one minute and 52.17 seconds on Sunday.
Rambai, through her stupendous feat, beat the late Man Kaur’s record.
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Kaur, at the age of 101, had become the oldest Indian track and field athlete to compete and win the 100m event in just 74 seconds in 2017.
“Boht khush hoon main. Yeh ek durlabh ehsaas hain (I am very elated. It’s a rare feeling),” says Rambai.
It was but natural that she was asked what keeps her fit even at this ripe old age of 105. Rambhai gets excited like a kid in a candy store and explains everything in detail.
“Main har subah jaldi uththi hoon aur jogging karti hoon. Main apne ghar ke saare kam khud karti hoon. Main kheto main bhi kam karta hoon roz” (Every morning, I wake up early and do jogging. I do all my household chores. I even work at our farm when I am in my village,” Rambai said.
Rambai was born in 1917, when World War I was at its peak, George V (the grandfather of Queen Elizabeth II) ruled India. That year also saw the first Pulitzer Prizes being awarded in various disciplines in the United States.
She who took up running only a year ago and says her performance in the recent events will only motivate her to do better in the coming days.
“Koi mujhe rok nahi shakta abhi. Mujhe hamesha se khud par bharosa raha hain. Main ab videsh yatra karna chahti hoon. (Nothing can stop me now after my recent performances. I have always been supremely confident in myself. I want to go abroad now and take part in events there),” says Rambai, with a roar of laughter.
“My grandmother was determined from the word go, to take part in the event. Initially, we were a bit worried because of her advanced age, but given how fit she is, we were confident too,” said Sharmila Sangwan, Rambai’s granddaughter.
“In fact, my grandmother took part in the race alone as there were no other competitors above the age of 85. The nearest competitor in terms of age was around 84,” Sharmila adds.
“She is quite a historic figure. The grand-old member of our family. She has been witness to events that none of us can ever think of, in our lifetime. By winning these events, she will be remembered forever,” she laughed.