It takes Thai athlete Sawang Janpram 27.08 seconds to run 100 meters. That's not bad, given he is 102 years old.
People know Sawang as the oldest sprinter in Thailand. He has run four times in the yearly Thailand Master Athletes Championships.
At the championship last weekend in the southwestern Samut Songkhram province, he won all the gold medals in the 100-105 years category. That is because he has lived longer than any other competitors in that age range.
"Getting into sports made me strong and well. As well as this, exercising helps improve your appetite so you eat well too," Sawang says when asked about the secret to his long life.
Sawang walks with his 70-year-old daughter, Siripan, every day. He does simple jobs around the house like cleaning the fallen leaves in their garden.
But the 102-year-old became more active as he prepared for the games. He trained two times a day for a week at a local sports center with his daughter.
"My father always has positive thoughts ... so he is in a great mental health condition. In terms of physical health, he has gotten much stronger," Siripan says.
The training helped. Sawang's time for the 100-meter sprint this year was his fastest ever. It is a new Thai record for his age group.
Usain Bolt, who holds the only current world record, ran 100 meters in 9.58 seconds in 2009.
As Thailand's society ages, the number of competitors in the senior category has grown, says Viwat Vigrantanoros. He is president of Asia Masters Athletics.
When the Thailand Master Athletes Championships started in 1996, there were only about 300 competitors. Today, there are over 2,000 from 35 to 102 years of age.
"As you can see, everybody who's here to compete has all forgotten about their ages. Once they forget about their ages, they are happy," Viwat said.
I’m Jill Robbins.
Juarawee Kittisilpa reported on this story for Reuters. Jill Robbins adapted it for Learning English.
Words in This Story
athlete – n. a person who does any kind of physical sports, exercise, or games, especially in competitions
sprinter – n. a person who takes part in short, fast races.
appetite – n. desire to eat
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