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At 99, Fauja Singh Runs To Spread Message Against Drug Addiction


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At 99, Fauja Singh runs to spread message against drug addiction

Kulwinder Sandhu/TNS

Moga, January 18

World’s oldest marathon runner and a brand ambassador of sports brand Adidas, Fauja Singh who will turn 100 on April 1 today launched a campaign against drug addiction in Punjab by organising a marathon with the help of rural folk at Bir Raoke village in the Nihal Singh Wala sub-division of Moga district.

He chose this village to launch the campaign as it has the highest ratio of women in the state and his coach Harmander Singh belongs to this village.

Fauja Singh said he wanted the youth to become responsible citizens and not waste life because of drugs. “In the 21st Century, this is the time to do something innovative to go ahead in life,” he said.

Singh started practicing running at the age of 81, after he lost his wife and a son in short interval. Presently, he lives with his other son in UK, from where he came here to launch the drive against drugs creating awareness through the marathon.

Fauja who could not communicate in English met his coach Harmander Singh by chance. His coach Harmander himself has taken part in the Great North Run and the London Marathon for 26 years and narrowly missed representing UK in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.

At the age of 89, he first took part in a national event in UK. Since then, he has not stopped and won many medals at the international level, which acclaimed him to become a brand ambassador for the Adidas sportswear. He was picked up by Adidas in 2010 replacing famous footballer David Bakham.

He said if he could run at the age of 100 why can’t the youth of Punjab, his home state. “I am sorry to say that the youth are losing stamina to drugs,” he said. Fauja Singh ran two-and-half km along with 40 people above the age of 40 years and another 5 km with other age groups. He said he was still strong and will continue to run.

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