Unstoppable granny, 81, runs 7km and plays one hour of tennis every day
Pan Shiu-Yu runs the 100 metres in a respectable 15 seconds, just two seconds more than her personal best when she was 13. That was seven decades ago. Now 81, she has barely slowed down.
“Everyone is able to do simple things. You have to do the things that other people cannot. Only then will you set records.“
Every day, she wakes up by 4.30am to get ready for a day of exercise and work at a senior citizens’ centre planning activities for its members.
Instead of using public transport, she cycles to the tennis court where she meets her friends at about 6am. There, she jogs 7km, rain or shine, and then squeezes in an hour of tennis before heading to work.
“I like challenges because the more difficult it is, the more I want to forge ahead.”
She is the Taiwanese record holder for 11 athletic events, including the long jump, triple jump and 100m for the 60, 70 and 80 age groups.
“I had to be a good role model to them. I needed to be tough.”
At 12, she was forced to take on the responsibilities to look after and discipline her younger siblings when her father passed away.
Scouted to run by a schoolteacher
According to Channel NewsAsia, a schoolteacher noticed her potential during a Scout lesson, which started her in track and she fell in love with the sport. However, her sporting passion had to take a back seat when she got married at 22. Having to focus fully on her family, she could not find the time to exercise.
Then when she reached her late 50s, she started to experience pain in both knees due to worn out ligaments from friction. Her doctor’s advice was knee replacement surgery but she refused as the surgery was no guarantee that her knee problems would not return and that she could do sports again.
I decided that … I was going to exercise on my own. I told the doctor I wanted to try.
She persevered on training her muscles despite the pain, and the questions from family and friends about her decision. In the end, she won. Her kneecaps not only healed naturally and she “rediscovered” her athletic spirit.
“At my age, I can run and jump. Very few people can do this.”
This unstoppable granny, Pan Shiu-Yu, is also a source of motivation to some of her friends; encouraging them not to give up and to keep pushing on, regardless of the obstacles.
She inspires by example, from picking up tennis at age 70 to mountaineering when she was about 75. She has since climbed four mountains, including Mount Fuji in Japan and Mount Yushan, Taiwan’s highest peak. Even those who are younger than her struggle to keep up at times.
“People would all look at how old I am and tell me not to come along,” she said.
“(They questioned) how they were going to climb with an old granny. Actually, the people who laughed at me were all behind me.”
Pan Shiu-Yu’s message to the elderly?
“The older you are, the more you need to get out.” Not everyone must be like her – sprinting and winning medals – “but go out and get some sun.”
Source: Channel NewsAsia series Super Octogenarians
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