As he turned 101 on Sunday, Sikh marathoner Fauja Singh did not have his birthday celebrations on his mind at his London home. Instead, the oldest athlete on earth is busy preparing for his next event, the London Marathon, on April 22.
Fauja was on the tracks to run six laps as the Sikhs in the city team organised an event in London to run 101 laps of 2km each to commemorate his 101st birthday. "Mere coach ne mainu dovara jinda kar ditta hai (my coach has given me a fresh lease of life)," Fauja told his Chandigarh-based biographer Khushwant Singh.
Last year, Fauja had become perhaps the only man in the world to have lived a 100 years to see his biography being released at that age. Turbaned Tornado was released in the Atlee Room of the House of Lords in London in July last year. An illiterate person who converses only in Punjabi, Fauja had told IANS how he yearned that he could have read his biography.
As Fauja prepares for the London Marathon, no insurance company in Britain is ready to issue him a policy for the event.
"No company here is ready to insure him. We are willing to accept insurance even from India from anyone who has confidence in Fauja's ability," Fauja's coach Harmandar Singh said.
"Recently, when I spoke to him, he was not sure on whether he should run the full or half marathon. He asked me and then he said, 'Je marna hi hai taan poori da lambha le ke maraan (If I have to die then I should be blamed for running the full one,'" Khushwant said.