Bhavani Jogi
Bhavani Jogi

64-year-old Mangaluru sportswoman bringing laurels for country

For sexagenarian Bhavani Jogi, a nurse, age is no bar when it comes to winning medals at sports meets

MANGALURU: They say age is just a number and one shouldn’t count how long one lives but instead keep track of all the happiness one achieves in his or her life. A living testimony to this is 64-year-old Bhavani Jogi from Sakleshpur in Hassan district and currently a resident of Mangaluru.

Bhavani, a nurse, is an accomplished sportswoman, who recently won three gold, a silver and a bronze medal in the 35th Annual Masters (Open) Athletic Championship held in Sri Lanka. And wait. That’s not all. She’s so far won more than 200 medals in field and track events. But it wasn’t an easy journey to the top for Bhavani. Though she was interested in sports since her childhood, she couldn’t pursue it as a career because of restrictions at home. It was only after she got married that Bhavani started participating in sporting events.

“My mother was a midwife in the health department. She was worried about my education and did not encourage me to shape a career in sports. I was first posted as a nurse at KR Hospital in Mysuru in 1982. A year later, I got married and after two years, I delivered a baby girl. After my child was born, I started participating in the annual sports day events of my department. My sisters-in-law and my husband supported me,” she adds.

Initially trained by a physical education teacher Purushotham Padakannaya, she was interested in throwing sports and he helped her finetune her technique. Later, she was transferred to Wenlock Hospital in Mangaluru, where she worked for 10 years. “I worked between 7 am and 4 pm or 7 am and 1 pm or 4 pm and 6 pm. As I could not practice in the morning, I started with small practice sessions like jogging and other exercises. In 1989, my husband met with an accident, went into a coma and passed away 10 days later. I had to stop all my sports activities to look after my young daughter, and also had to continue working to make ends meet. I was fortunate that my relatives, colleagues and higher officials supported me which helped me return to sports and also handle my nursing duties,” she recalls.

Bhavani is an excellent Yakshagana artiste too. She performed under Kumble Sundar Rao’s brother Uppala Krishna Master at the state-level Nurses’ Conference in 1996. She portrayed the character of ‘Anusalva’ in ‘Babruvahana Vijaya’ prasanga. “Though the crown worn by the character was heavy, it did not deter me and many artistes appreciated my performance,” she says. She has also performed at ‘Karavali Utsav’ in Mangaluru.

She is also a swimmer and has won medals at the national level. She learnt swimming when she was 40 along with her daughter, who was in Class 7 then. Just four months after learning how to swim, she got selected to a national tournament and won 3 gold medals in the above 40 year category. She was also a swimming coach at the Mangala swimming pool of the Mangaluru City Corporation.

After 1998, she entered the Open Masters and so far, she has won over 100 gold and 70 silver medals. In 2017, Bhavani retired from Government Lady Goschen Hospital, Mangaluru, as a nursing superintendent. She then shifted base to Mysuru to look after her grandchildren. “My friends told me when I decided to leave Mysuru that life does not end at 60 and I should continue with sports. After two years, I returned to Mangaluru and I live at Ladyhill alone,” she says.“I will continue taking part in sporting events and try to win gold medals. There is no full-stop for me,” she says with a smile.

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