Thiruvananthapuram: Demonetisation was not why Vijayan K. could not participate in the previous World Masters’ Athletics Meets for which he had qualified. But this year, the tailor athlete reckons that it is going to be even more difficult than previous times. “The slowdown has affected the small restaurant across the road. They don’t keep it open in the evenings any more. After lunch, the shop is shut,” he says.
This time, after sprinting to a second place in 60+ men’s 200 metre and 400 metre categories, he has qualified for the World Masters’ Athletic Meet 2018, to be held at Malaga in Spain. He has got a friend to write a request for sponsorships, in which he says that visa processing, travel expenses, entry fees, accommodation fees and Masters’ Athletic Federation of India membership fees would cost him close to Rs 2 lakh.
That is nowhere close to what he can earn, sewing all the school uniforms he can. The only international meet he has been able to go using solely his earnings was the 14th Asia Masters’ Athletic Championships. Since it was held at Sree Kanteerava Stadium, Bangalore, he had to spend only Rs 8000. Then, he brought home a bronze in the 400 metres’ run for 50 m.
He could also attend the 15th Asia Masters’ Championships held at Chiang Mai, Thailand, when the government and Lions’ Club sponsored him partly. He was 50 years’ old, that year, when he came third in the men’s (50-54 years) 400 metres, and second in men’s 4X400 metres.