Written by Prakriti Panwar, a first-year undergraduate student
Never too old…
Bhagwani Devi, a 94-year-old Indian athlete, made history by bagging the gold medal at the World Master Athletics Championship in Finland. Devi sprinted 100m in just 24.74 seconds and also won two bronzes in shot-put and discus throw.
Bhagwani Devi’s personal and athletic background
Bhagwani Devi Dagar is from Khidka village in Haryana and she hails from a family of athletes. Her grandson Vikas Dagar is a well-known para-athlete who has received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award as well.
Before this, Bhagwani Devi won three golds at the National Master Athletics Championship which was held in Chennai. From here on, she began qualifying for international championships. She also won three golds at the Delhi State Athletics Championship in the 100m category
How it all began
Devi says that it all started when she used to accompany her grandson to his school. She would see him practice shot put, and one day finally asked her grandson to teach her how to throw it.
Bhagwani Devi said in an interview that her diet is nothing out of the ordinary. It simply consists of sabzis (vegetables) and rotis. She does, however, make it a point to have milk and buttermilk every day.
It must be noted that while Bhagwani Devi won gold in the 100m race, she was the only competitor in the event. In the shot put, however, three athletes were competing.
This information still does not change the fact that Devi clocked an impressive timing of 24.74 seconds in the 100m category, and kept India’s flag flying high.
What is the World Master Athletics Championship?
The World Masters Athletic Championship is a competitive event held for masters (or veterans/seniors) which is held once every two years.
The event goes on for 2 weeks with over 8000 participants, all above the age of 35 and representing 100 countries. This year’s championship was held in Tampere, Finland from 29th June to 10th July. It was originally intended to take place in Toronto, Canada but was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Twitter passionately congratulated Bhagwani Devi, calling her an inspiration and a personification of the saying ‘age is no bar.’