Bhagwani Devi, 95, bags 3 gold medals for India at World Master Athletics Indoor Championships

India’s 95-year-old veteran Bhagwani Devi Dagar bagged three gold medals in Discuss Throw in World Masters Athletics Indoor Championship at Torun in Poland. The nonagenarian won three medals at the 9th World Athletics Indoor Championship 2023 held at Torun, Poland.

The veteran Haryana athlete at the 2023 World Masters Athletics Championships in Finland ran 100m faster than anybody else in the 90-94 age category, winning a gold medal for India in the process.

Further she also bagged gold in shot put and discus throw in the 95-99 years old category.

Dagar also posted a video showing her learning to throw from another elderly competitor. She wrote in roughly translated Hindi, “One lamp does not lose anything by lighting another lamp. Meet my friend who often helps me to improve my game. That’s the beauty of the game.»

Union sports minister Anurag Thakur commended the win and tweeted, “What an inspiration! Our #NaariShakti never fails to make us proud. Kudos to 95 years old Bhagwani Devi ji on winning 3 gold medals in the 9th World Master Athletics Indoor Championships. Your champion mentality is a true testament of Fit India.»

Born in Khedka village of Haryana Bhagwani Devi got married at the very young age of 12 and was widowed at 30. Having lost a baby boy by the time her husband passed away, Bhagwani Devi decided not to remarry, instead focusing all her energies on her young daughter and another child she was pregnant with at the time.

After four years, her eight-year-old daughter also succumbed prematurely, leaving her toddler son as her only offspring. But Bhagwani Devi did not give up, working long hours in the field to sustain herself and her son, with support from her elder sister who had also married into the same family. Eventually, her efforts paid off and Bhagwani Devi’s son got a job as a clerk in the Delhi Municipal Corporation, which helped improve the family’s economic situation.

Soon enough, Bhagwani Devi became a grandmother, with three grandchildren. The eldest of them, Vikas Dagar, grew an active interest in sports, and in spite of coordination impairments, went on to represent India in several competitions, including the Asian Games. A Khel Ratna Awardee, Vikas holds multiple records as a para-athlete.

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