At 93, he wins gold and hearts too
Commander (Retd) Vallabhajosyula Sriramulu bagged three gold medals at the World Masters Athletics Championships
VISAKHAPATNAM: Two years of vigorous and meticulous practice has eventually paid dividends for Commander (Retd) Vallabhajosyula Sriramulu.
Winner of three gold medals at the XXII World Masters Athletics Championships held in Perth, Australia, recently, the 93-year-old walker was adjudged the ‘Asian Athlete of 2016’ by the organising committee for his astounding feat.
He made a mark in the international marathon held between October 26 and November 6, by racing past his competitors in all the three categories — 5-km (45 minutes), 10-km (one hour, 41 minutes, 21 seconds) and 20-km (three hours, 11 minutes, 14 seconds) under the 90-95 age group.
The year seems to be quite eventful for the champion as this is the second victory in a row after grabbing a gold medal in the Asia Masters Athletics Championships in Singapore.
“When I participated in the earlier edition of the World Masters in California in 2011, I won one gold and two silver medals. I made up my mind to bag three gold medals next time. And this is the outcome,” he says, showing the gold medals and flashing a broad smile.
“The most challenging part of the race is to move ahead without getting disqualified, keeping every rule in mind under extreme cold conditions,” he says.
After the 2011 marathon, Cdr. Sriramulu had to bid adieu to his workout sessions for a period of three years as his right knee was damaged.
However, his indomitable spirit to make up for the lost time made him bounce back.
“I started walking from Visakha Museum to Coastal Battery on Beach Road at 3:45 a.m. That is the time when nobody prefers to walk and the footpath is all mine,” he reasons.
When asked about the secret behind his unwavering energy levels, he shares his recipe of green tea.
“The first thing I drink at 2:45 a.m. is a cup of green tea customised with a range of herbs. The powders that get into the tea include flax seed, basil leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, and turmeric, along with four lemons and a tea spoon of honey, which my wife refers to as a concoction of herbs rather than green tea,” he says.