Focus on education, health, keep Punjabiyat alive: Fauja Singh
A man who featured with football star David Beckham and boxing legend Muhammad Ali in a 2004 commercial, 106-year-old Fauja Singh holds the world record for the fastest marathon by a centenarianother sports Updated: Mar 26, 2018 16:04 IST
Sprightly at 106, Fauja Singh’s energy and ‘never-say-die attitude’ won the hearts of Ludhiana citizens at the ‘Run for Humanity’ marathon held at Leisure Valley in Ludhiana on Sunday.
Marathoner Singh, nicknamed the Turbaned Tornado, was in town to flag off the run and motivate people to run and stay fit. However, he couldn’t participate in the run because of health problems.
A man who has featured with football star David Beckham and boxing legend Muhammad Ali in an Adidas advertisement in 2004, Fauja Singh holds the world record for the fastest marathon by a centenarian. In fact, he is the only centenarian in the world to run a marathon, in 2011, clocking 8:25:17.
Speaking at Sunday’s marathon, he said, “My health does not allow me to take part in such events. I have come here to interact with the people of Punjab. I want the people of my state to remain healthy both physically and mentally.”
British passport holder Fauja Singh, who will turn 107 on April 1, said, “It has been four years since I last participated in a run. I last ran in Hong Kong in 2013.
Calling on greater focus on education and health, he added, “People focus on two things in life — education and health as these will help you in the longer run. The combination of both will help everyone remain fit both physically and mentally”.
Talking about the alarming increase in the drug abuse cases in the state, Fauja Singh, whose native village Beas is in Jalandhar district, said, “The drugs menace has gripped the state. I believe the increase in the number of drug abuse cases has been spoiling the youth. I want all the Punjabis to stand against the drug abuse in the state. We should eradicate it from the bottom.”
“Punjabiyat zinda rakho (keep the spirit of Punjab alive),” was his message to people of the state.
Fauja Singh ran the first marathon of his life at the age of 89, during the London Marathon in 2000. He hogged the limelight, when at 93 he completed the race in 6 hours, 54 minutes, almost an hour faster than the previous record in the 90-plus category.