Covid is taking it’s toll for people’s activities also, the second year in running. 2021 World Masters Games to be held in Kansai Japan was postponed to 2022 (it’s a once in 4 years event like Olympics). And we were in lockdown most of 2020.
Right now, in 2021 it looks like the same and definitely much worse in India. Activities are severely curtailed and vaccination process is slow.
On activities, the only silver lining this year, was the state level masters swimming which the organisers managed to hold in an excellent manner. And us winners were supposed to be competing in National meet in June in Hyderabad.
Now it’s canceled and the announcement said it’s treated as a zero event. 2022 national will be at the same venue in February. And Swimming pools are all closed.
To make matters worse, the Cricket extravaganza IPL is postponed when the Covid bubble created burst and players got infected.
There’s nothing to do, we’re all forced to be indoors as no one knows which way the virus will enter!
That’s when Rummikub is coming to the rescue. We have a fantastic wife-husband bonding, playing this game which apparently combines the properties of Rummy and Mahjong. It challenges the brain adequately, not excessively and thus perhaps less boring as Chess.
Putting it in perspective, Chess has no jokers, but Rummikub has two.
That’s a whopping 5 gold medals! 3 individual and 2 relay golds in the Kerala State Masters Swimming Meet.
That’s gold in 50 meters freestyle, 50 meters breast stroke and 100 meters breast stroke as individual items in my age group. And golds in 4×50 freestyle relay and 4×50 medley relay.
Incidentally that’s the maximum number of events and maximum number of gold medals a participant can compete in.
Quite a satisfying achievement. And it gives a great resolve to get trained further and practice for matching achievements in the forthcoming National Meet and the World Masters Games in Kansai, Japan in 2022.
I was to go to Kansai in Japan in May 2021 to compete in world masters swimming, which is now postponed to May 2022 due to Covid.
Preliminary competitions at the state and national levels were not held in 2020. Now the Kerala state masters games are to be held from March 12 to 15 2021 in Thrissur.
Swimming pools were closed and we’re short of practice. Worse, I got a shoulder impingement trying to mimic swimming on land.
With barely 10 days for the meet, I have started in the pool. And it’s tough with the first casualty being my intermittent fasting schedule. For example, last night, I had to eat at 10 pm, while my dinner gets over at 5 pm on a fasting day.
I am a river swimmer and used to play water polo in college, but not competitive swimming. I have been a shot putter and I have registered for the masters shot put and discus throw too.
Frankly I am not fully prepared and I am slightly injured. But it’s in taking part and any medal will be a bonus.
Having said that, all of us are short of practice.
I have here photos of us from Pala, Kerala with medals in the just concluded National Masters Games in Vadodara.
My Alma Mater in Pala, St. Thomas College was the first college in Kerala with own swimming pool when we were students. Now it’s the only college in Kerala with the Olympic size 50 meter swimming pool.
Pala is also home to ‘Thoppans Swimming Academy’ training many swimmers. One of the coaches from the swimming family Thomas Thoppan (second from left) has been to a number of World Masters Games.
And Prof. Sebastian (extreme right, next to me) is the eldest swimmer from Kerala and have come 7th in World Masters Games.
With competition for age brackets of 5 years starting from 25 to 100, masters games is the right ingredient for athletes to be evergreen and competing.
The YouTube link below is of the program broadcast by Kerala’s leading TV news channel, Asianet, featuring me.
It’s in Malayalam language and the message I am giving is that ‘sportsman never retires’ and masters games competition helps to build a healthy nation.
There’s a call for government support and corporate sponsorship for the games and athletes.
Masters Games are also for those who think that they might have lost out in the prime age sports leading to Olympics.
I am one of them! A great sports enthusiast, I took the ‘little bit of everything’ route rather than concentrating on one event and to get specially trained on that.
Perhaps I did think that I should have been super trained in one of them.
That’s when I heard about the Masters Games. It covers almost all (if not all) sports events and there are State level, National level and International level competitions for age groups in steps of 5 years from 30 onwards till 80 plus.
And surprise, there’s even World Records for the individual items.