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At 84, he runs like a hare

CHENNAI: He was probably the oldest participant in Sunday’s Marathon.But for 84-year-old John Devashir, a retired policeman, the run for veterans from War Memorial to Queen Mary’s College was just a little more than his usual routine. He runs two km every morning, besides jumping hurdles and lifting weights.His trim physique is an antithesis to the pot-bellied policeman’s image, portrayed in the media and films with a dash of derision and a touch of reality. And as he finishes his morning exercise at the Nehru Stadium and walks out, slinging his shoulder bag, he does it with an aplomb of a teenager.Interestingly, Devashir took to sports only at an age when most sportmen would have long hung up their boots. He started playing badminton daily after he was diagnosed a diabetic. “In 1983, I also started playing volleyball. It is all these vigorous sports that I picked up at the age of 50 keep me going,” he says with a sense of pride.Today, his routine starts at 3.50 am with prayers. He leaves his home in Ayapakkam on a scooty to join a 57-year-old friend in Mogappair after a 15-minute ride.From there, the two either take a bus to Nehru Stadium or make a drive to YMCA Nandanam in a car.He goes to the Nehru Stadium to jump hurdles and to the YMCA for weightlifting, which he does two days in a week. Devashir can lift up to 70 kg.After the workout, he goes home and then heads to his office. Yes, he still works – as the General Manager of Sincere Security Services in Anna Nagar.“I realised that retired people are not healthy so I decided to keep myself engaged,” he says.Devashir started his career as a sub-inspector of police in 1952 at the age of 25 and then went on to become an inspector with the Central Bureau of Investigation in 1965. He retired in 1983 and then joined a privatae security company.His sporting activity has taken him to various national and international athletic meets for veterans.He has won medals and has travelled to places like Malaysia, Thailand and Australia, spending his own money to take part in various events.“No sponsor takes an 80-plus man seriously, so I end up spending money from my own pocket. But abroad, my counterparts come on fully statesponsored trips,” he says. “There are only seven or eight of us in India who are healthy to take part in sports at this age,” he adds.So, what is his health mantra? “Eat limited food. Don’t succumb to temptations of biryani everyday.”

Courtesy – Expressbuzz

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