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 keen to get vaccinated before my plan to get some swimming coaching in the new Olympic size swimming pool to be opened on March 15, 2021 in Jayanagar, Bangalore. It’s just walking distance from our place in Jayanagar.
Karnataka state has severe restrictions on people traveling from certain states, which include Kerala where I am in now.
With the first vaccination done now, I can get the second one completed before I travel to Bangalore in April. That should take care of the travel restrictions.
Before that I have the masters swimming state meet on March 13, 2021 in Thrissur, Kerala. As such it’s a good time to have the first dose done.
I hope, with the world getting vaccinated, we can have a flat world again.
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.
Sometime back I was attracted to the saying that we exercise to impress the neighbor.
Now I look at it as need based also. Weight loss is a universally accepted reason. Better health, keeping fit etc are others.
Walking perhaps is most common with gym visits, weight training and others in the list.
There are quite a few who exercise for the company of fellow athletes.
But then, after a time we want to see some results. Some adjustments are required for it to happen.
Research says that slower walking helps losing weight better than jogging or running. So there’s some science behind all these.
This is what I do now:
I have adopted intermittent fasting as a lifestyle. To compliment the weight loss. I do some slow walking.
I want to walk on stones barefoot, like I used to do in childhood days when chasing fish in the river. So my walking for fat burning is barefoot on the cobbled ground with enough pebbles to toughen the barefoot.
I have a dream to acquire six packs. So I want to lift weight, do push-ups, pull-ups and crunches.
I want to get rid of my lower belly and love handles. For this I do anabolic and HIIT workout.
I am looking at some medals in Masters Swimming competitions. So I swim like a trained swimmer.
I want to acquire some yogic benefits. So I do yoga.
World Masters Games to be held in Kansai Japan in May 2021 is postponed by one year. I was to complete in a few swimming items in my age group.
Covid is the reason for the postponement.
Though my first opportunity to perform in a world stage is delayed, it may be a good thing as any practice in a swimming pool has been stopped for about 8 months now.
Moreover there’s more time to get some proper training for someone like me where the current strength is in extensive river swimming. I hope to improve by a few seconds with coaching under experts like the Thoppans.
Right now the objective is to survive the pandemic.
And then to some serious training for the games in 2022.
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.
I won two silver (50 meters butterfly and 100 meters freestyle) and one bronze (50 meters freestyle) in the just finished National Masters Games in Vadodara, Gujarat, India.
Thousands of athletes from all over india competed with the best in their age group for glory in sports.
The atmosphere and camaraderie experienced is equal or even better than a university games.
Some of the participants are really aged. It’s heartening to see some of them barely managing to climb the stairs, but roaring in the pool with graceful strokes in the water. Similar is the case with other events.
It’s my first national meet. Work took me outside India and that probably is the only excuse I have for not participating earlier.
Here I am to stay, and try earnestly to fulfill my stated objective of competing in a world championship.
One gold today was an objective. A slightly different approach of selecting a different style in place of freestyle would have given me that opportunity. But the humbling by real masters is a learning experience.
I will search gold and learn from Masters for which I will be training earnestly.