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Its never too late - Second innings

S.Santha, 54, is a multi-faceted personality - a singer, an artist, a chef, and a sportsperson. Her age couldn’t defeat her interest in sports. She had won a multitude of Master’s competitions - from athletics to shotput and hammer throws. Recently Santha was selected at the Asia Meet held in Malaysia and qualified for the International competition to be held in Canada, only for Coronavirus to play spoil-sport.

Adyar Times caught up with Santha to know more…

How did it all start? How did you become interested in sports?

I come from a conservative family. However, I loved sports and was part of my college’s Volleyball team. So there were times when I didn’t tell my family and went for inter-college volleyball competitions. Being a conservative family, sports weren't encouraged much, we however had many other activities that our mother engaged us in, like music, veena, tailoring, hand-work, making things from waste, etc. In fact, I was an AIR artist. My father said, “you can continue sports after your marriage if your in-laws agree to it.”

So, did you find support?

I am very fortunate to have found a very supportive husband. At the age of 40, I learned swimming. My husband took me to the SIET college swimming pool, which is meant for women only. There I saw that women older than me were wearing swimming costumes and swimming. So I no longer had inhibitions about the dress. Apart from my husband, my son has also been very encouraging.

How did you start participating in sports competitions?

My son is also into sports. When he was younger, I took him for his athletic coaching to the YMCA every day. While waiting, I used to briskly walk around the ground. At that time I was 42 and I walked 5 km in 28 mins. One day while I was walking, my son’s coaching master - Mr.Solomon, asked my son if I had participated in walking competitions and if I was interested. I agreed and so I was introduced to the Master’s Athletic Federation of India.

How was your first competition?

All competitions in Chennai are held at the Nehru stadium and the first time itself, I won gold in Walking, Shotput, and Hammer throw.

How do you train?

I was already a brisk walker, so I didn’t need much training on that. However, my son’s coach Mr. Solomon taught the techniques and also trained me in Shotput and Hammer throw. I am highly indebted to Mr. Solomon for introducing me to the Master’s Athletic Federation.

Have you ever been disappointed?

Partiality is there in many places. But I am a very vocal person. During a district competition at Erode, in the walking competition, there was a woman who actually ran. She was given warnings, however, she was still awarded the prize. I fought to no avail. Such things do disappoint us. However international competitions are transparent.

What are your other interests?

Cooking and music. I am often invited by TV channels for shows. I also write articles in Tamil magazines on my varied life experiences.

How are you coping / training in this lockdown?

I am keeping fit by walking and yoga at my terrace. I walk nearly 7 km daily at my terrace, doing yoga and especially breathing exercises.

What next?

Had Coronavirus not initiated the lockdown, I would now be in Canada attending the International meet. Next, I am actually thinking of venturing into swimming competitions. I am quite good at breaststroke.

Santha is a resident of Padmanabha Nagar and can be contacted at 87544 66194.

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