It’s never too late to strap on the shoes and go for a run. In the case of Baldev Singh (58) and Kewal Singh (52), running has brought medals at different events of various championships.
Baldev Singh from Tarn Taran, Amritsar and Kewal Singh from Amritsar are practicing at Guru Nanak Stadium here during the trials for All India Postal Department Athletic Championship to be held from September 21-23 at Punjab Agricultural University.
Baldev Singh works as a clerk in postal department. He has been participating in various marathons since 2007. He has participated in 1,500 metres, 5,000 metres, 10,000 metres run and in a 20 kilometre walk. He has been continuously winning gold for the past nine years in 5,000 metres and 10,000 metres in his age category in Open Veteran Athletic Championship of the state.
He also won gold medals in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and bagged a silver medal in 2014 in the All India Postal Department Athletic Championship. He also clinched a silver medal in 2012 in 5,000 metres event at Open Veteran Athletic Championship. His timings are 19.5 minutes in 5,000 metres, 39.4 minutes in 10,000 metres and 2.12 hours in 20 km walk.
Studies, job and now running
“I gained interest for participating in these events after joining the postal department. During childhood, I used to be inspired by ex-India cricket captain Bishan Singh Bedi and used to play different sports but later I got engrossed in studies and then job.”
In 2007 at the age of 50, I decided to devote evening hours to running in the streets.”
Baldev’s stint at running was enough to inspire his colleague Kewal Singh.
Kewal Singh, who works as a postman had played at the school-level competitions. After a gap of 21 years, he started to sprint. Now, it has been six years that Kewal Singh is setting a mark by winning gold medals in 5,000 metres in his age category at Open Veteran Athletic Championship. “Till date my best is 20 minutes in 5,000 metres,” he said.
While Kewal got motivation from Baldev, his two daughters and a son were inspired from their father. Kewal’s daughter is a qualified Wrestling coach from National Institute of Sports, while the second daughter participates in wrestling events along with her BSc studies. Kewal’s son participates in long jump events and is a Class 12 student.
Sanjeev Sharma, athletics coach at Guru Nanak Stadium, appreciated the efforts of two veterans. He said that on an average a young boy athlete takes around 17 minutes to run 5,000 metres and a young girl athlete takes around 19 minutes for the same. “So, one can judge Baldev and Kewal’s fitness level who are not only participating in sports events but are setting example for young athletes to follow.”