The 82-year-old Om Autar Seth took to swimming as a regular form of exercise. The veteran, who has been battling asthma for nearly 50 years, took it up with such gusto that he is travelling from Hyderabad to New Zealand to compete in the World Master Games. Seth, who turned a professional swimmer after a 20-year-long stint at Steel Authority Of India Limited, prefers to spend hours perfecting his strokes at local swimming pools and raking in gold medals at swimming competitions.
"It was only 15 years ago that I started to taking the sport seriously. Even though I am 82, I am capable of swimming for nearly one hour without breaks. I recommend swimming to all those suffering from asthma," said Seth. "I am participating in the 400 and 800 metre freestyle categories at Auckland. This is the first time I am participating in an international sporting event," said Seth, who has won prizes at national-level swimming competitions held by the Swimming Federation of India in Trivandrum, Bhopal and Indore.
The former metallurgical engineer sticks to a rigorous training regimen. A long morning walk coupled with Tai Chi classes and endless hours at a local swimming pool, says Seth, helps him stay fit. "It is never too late to master a sport," said the veteran swimmer, adding, "Although the director of the state Sports Authority declined a request to sponsor me as I was not part of any team, he was very encouraging." Swimming is one of the 28 categories at the World Master Games, which will be kicked off at Aukland on April 21.