But you are asking for trouble if you snigger at Bhagwati Oza, 72, who swam 3.5 kilometres between Shinor and Malsar in the Narmada on June 15. She was among the only two senior citizens participating in the open water swimming challenge. “It was the first time that I participated in a competition in which one had to swim in the river instead of a pool. The race was a challenge worth taking up,” says the gritty lady who lives by the dictum – Nothing is impossible. A practising gynaecologist, Oza now plans to learn as she feels that it is time to give adventure sports a try.
Instead of retiring, Oza started her career in sports at 65. Today, she is a swimmer, cyclist and a trained pilot. In a span of eight years, she has won more than 70 medals and trophies in various disciplines nationally and internationally. She is also a mountaineer, having trained under the legendary Tenzing Norgay. No wonder she is now eyeing to enter the Limca Book of Records.
Oza has already cycled from Pune to Bangalore and Wagah Border to Agra to promote safe motherhood. Four years ago she sold off her car, preferring a bicycle wherever she goes. “It is my contribution to the environment cause,” she says. Oza adds that she remained unmarried to dedicate her life to her patients and is available to the ailing round the clock. In 1980, she worked with Mother Teresa in Morbi after the Machchu Dam breached. In 2005, she was also on the list of ‘Top 20 Most Powerful People’ selected by a magazine from senior citizens. She shared space with the likes of Yash Chopra, Khushwant Singh and MF Hussain.
E mail Courtsey Jagruti Trovedi