India’s 95-year-old veteran Bhagwani Devi Dagar bagged a gold medal in Discuss Throw in World Masters Athletics Indoor Championship at Torun in Poland.
The veteran Haryana athlete at the 2022 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. 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.