Mann Kaur joins iconic Milkha Singh, Balbir Sr in heaven

City loses another icon, veteran athlete dies at the age of 105 after battling with cancer

Deepankar Sharda

Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, July 31

With the passing away of centenarian athlete Mann Kaur today, Chandigarh has now lost three of its iconic figures.

Magnificent Mann

  • Mann Kaur took up athletics at the age of 93
  • In 2017, the centenarian completed a 100m dash in a jaw-dropping 74 seconds at the World Masters Games in Auckland
  • In 2019, aged 103, Mann finished a 200m dash in 3:01.61s at the Asian Masters Championship in Malaysia
  • A six-time World Masters Championship gold medallist and also multiple Asian Masters Championship medallist, Mann was declared the fastest centenarian at a competition in the American Masters Games
  • She received the Nari Shakti Puraskar from the President at the age of 103

After triple hockey Olympian Balbir Singh (Senior) and former India sprinter ‘Flying Sikh’ Milkha Singh, one of the world’s oldest runners of all time – Mann Kaur – severed her bond with the City Beautiful.

Born at different places, but settled in Chandigarh, the trio had established the city on the global sports map.

Mann Kaur died at a Dera Bassi hospital today at the age of 105. She had been battling cancer of liver and gallbladder for the past six months.

An inspiration for the youngsters, Mann Kaur, along with Milkha and Balbir (Senior), was always ready to motivate the city athletes and guide the residents to a healthy and happy life.

While Balbir (Senior) died last year after a prolonged illness, Milkha lost his battle against Covid last month.

Kaur was out of action since the Covid pandemic broke in March last year.

“She is no more. She lived her life to the fullest. She was on a complete liquid diet and left the world very calmly. The deadly disease took her away from us. She was not in pain, but was suffering. Her last few days went peacefully and she breathed her last today,” said Gurdev Singh, Mann Kaur’s son.

Kaur took up athletics at the age of 93 and went on to participate in many international championships. She received the Nari Shakti Puraskar from the President at the age 103.

A six-time World Masters Championship gold medallist and also multiple Asian Masters Championship medallist, Mann was declared the fastest centenarian at a competition in the American Masters Games.

“She was not feeling well since the Covid pandemic broke in March last year. She was confined to bed and had started living an isolated life. She was not interacting with people. She had also stopped running,” said Gurdev.

Kaur was also the face of the ‘Fit India Movement’ and her love for running was even appreciated by the Prime Minister.

Minister for Sports and Youth Services, Government of Punjab, Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi and many other sports enthusiasts paid tribute to Kaur. 

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