After a silver medal at age 88, Krishnan Nair is aiming bigger
By Tiki Rajwi | Published: 14th November 2012 12:21 PM |
As he braced himself for the starting shot earlier this month in Taipei, V R Krishnan Nair had little hope of taking home a medal. After all, you scarcely expect to win a gruelling 800-metre race running with a painful calf injury.
The 88-year-old, however, surprised himself at the just-concluded 17th Asian Masters Athletics Championships in Taipei by winning the silver. This, despite the fact that the injury had forced him to lay off training for two whole months.
‘’The officials asked me whether I would be able to run. But once I started off, even I was surprised,’’ Krishnan Nair said, relaxing at his Jawahar Nagar home on Tuesday.
‘’Chinese athletes won the gold and bronze. I wasn’t even expecting a bronze,’’ he said, showing off his medal and the certificate.
The retired forest service officer had qualified for both the 800 metres and the five-kilometre walk, but the calf injury compelled him to kick the latter. In Taipei, Krishnan Nair clocked 6:22:17 to bag the silver. Not an Olympics qualifier, that time, you might say. But there was a time when this lean, ascetic-looking man who looks more a bespectacled academic than an athlete set University records with his swift legs.
‘’My best 800-metre time was two minutes and I held the Madras University record. That was in the mid-’40s when you had to run barefoot. Now athletes run well below two minutes,’’ he said.
Hailing from Vellayambalam, Krishnan Nair discovered a passion for running right from his days at the Government Model Boys School. He took up athletics in earnest during his graduate days in Madras. Later, at the Forestry College, Coimbatore, he was champion in long-distance running for two years. When he joined the forest service back home, he took care to nurture his athletics skills.
Krishnan Nair retired in 1990. Four years later, he began competing in veterans’ meets in the five-kilometre walk, but began signing up for the running events only two years ago. His strength, he says, is his wife Sreemathy Kunjamma and sons Suresh, Sudheer and Sunil.
Krishnan Nair has now set his eyes on the November 2013 veteran’s championships in Brazil. He plans to participate in the 200 and 800 metres races and the five-kilometre walk. But first he has to qualify in the nationals, and there’s that mischievous calf injury. ‘’Oh! I’m sure to get selected. And the leg needs just a month’s rest. It will be all right,’’ he says with a laugh.