Age is just a number, and this 62-year-old woman from Kerala has proved that it’s never too late to follow one’s dreams by winning three medals, including one gold, in the Open International Masters Sports Meet held in Dubai in October this year.
Though Rusheeda Pattanam of Padivattom in Kochi loved sports from her childhood days and wanted to become a sportsperson, life’s circumstances upended her dreams. However, her burning desire to revisit her childhood passion for sports ignited when she retired at the age of 60 from a private news channel, where she was working as a makeup artist. Now, her journey from retirement to the podium at the Open International Masters Sports Meet is capturing hearts and earning accolades from people.
“I loved sports from childhood and wanted to be a sportsperson. After retirement, I decided to give it a try and started practicing for nearly three hours every day,” Rusheeda told “Open Digest.”
With unyielding dedication, she embarked on a remarkable journey to rekindle her love for athleticism, practicing at Maharajas College, and competing in local athletics meets. She reacquainted herself with her favourite track and field training rigorously, overcoming the initial physical challenges and mental barriers that can often deter older athletes.
“As I started to perform well in local events, I got a chance to participate in district and state meets. I got selected for the international event because I could do well in the local meets,” Rusheeda said.
At the Open International Masters Sports Meet held in Dubai from October 27 to 30, she competed with athletes from other countries and won gold in the 4×100-meter relay, a bronze medal in javelin throw, and silver in the long jump.
Rusheeda has now made it a routine to practice diligently to maintain her strength, stamina, and agility. She finds time for it after taking care of her grandson. “I practice every day. If I could not practice in the morning, I do it in the evening,” she said, adding that she is preparing for the Kerala Masters Meet, which will be held in the coming months. “I don’t follow any particular diet, but I practice and follow a disciplined life,” she added.
Her journey serves as a reminder that the desire to follow one’s dreams can lead to remarkable accomplishments, no matter when in life those dreams are pursued. Rusheeda is a shining example of resilience, passion, and the indomitable human spirit.