Veteran athlete Mann Kaur dies at 105

Mann Kaur, who took to athletics at the age of 93, received the Nari Shakti Puraskar from the President at the age of 103

Jupinderjit Singh
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 31

Once the face of Fit India Movement, internationally acclaimed veteran athlete Mann Kaur breathed her last at the age of 105 today. She died of liver cancer at a hospital here.

Mann Kaur, who took to athletics at the age of 93, received the Nari Shakti Puraskar from the President at the age of 103. In 2016, she was declared the fastest centenarian at a competition in the American Masters Games. In 2019, she won four events — shot put, 60m sprint, 200m race and javelin throw — in her age category at the World Masters Athletics Championships in Poland. She won more than 25 medals at the veteran athletics championship.

Popular as Bebe Mann Kaur, she stayed mostly in Canada and for some months every year at her son’s house in Chandigarh. After she won a marathon event in Patiala in 2016, the organisers provided her lodging in Hotel Neemrana, renovated version of famed Rajindra Kothi of Patiala Kings. She stayed in the Maharani’s room.

“I was staying in room number 1 of the hotel, the place where the Maharani lived. I relived my whole life in a blink,” she told The Tribune in an interview in 2016.

During her younger days, Mann Kaur served as a member of the royal staff. “My father was a cook in the royal kitchen. I was later married to a cook in his team,” she recalled. Her son moved to Canada after Independence. He was the first to participate in veteran athletics in Canada at the age of 78.

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