80 Years And Still Going Strong

K Rengasamy

Chennai: Eighty-year-old and still going. Yes, meet K Rengasamy of West K K Nagar, who is an active sportsperson. He has won gold medals in 100 and 200 meters completing the races in 20.28 and 55.65 seconds respectively in recently held Chennai District Masters Athletic Meet 2019. The two-day event was held at Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in the city.

“I am still energetic and I am confident of winning more medals in coming years,” he said while speaking to News Today.
As Physical Education teacher, Rengasamy had worked in government schools in Chennai and various places across Tamilnadu. He retired from service in 1988. But, he did not hang his boots and started working in private schools in Coimbatore and Chennai. In 2009, he finally decided to quit.

“After my second retirement, I started competing in Chennai Districts Masters Athletic Meet. It has been 10 years and I am still running 100 and 200 meters and winning medals. This year, I also participated in javelin throw and won silver medal,” he said.

“Between 2009 and 2018, I won over 40 medals in running, javelin throw and shot put. I also participated in all India meets and won medals,” the octogenarian said.

A pencil sketch of Illayaraja by K Rengasamy

Rengasamy is a multi-talented person. He is a singer, acts in guest role in movies and is a sketch artist. Sketches of music director Illayaraja, actor Sivaji Ganeshan and many film celebrities can be seen hanging on his house walls.

“A native of Theni district, I always wanted to be a playback singer but ended up as a teacher. That didn’t stop me from singing. I started a band called Vasantha Ragangal along with friends and my daughter K R Vasanthakumari is the lead singer,” said Rengasamy.

During his school and college days, he used to sing for Pavalar Brothers band run by Illayaraja and his brother Gangai Amaran based in Pannaipuram, Theni, according to Rengasamy.

“My father and grandfather were also singers. When I couldn’t make a name for myself, I tried to bring my daughter. Even though she didn’t shine in cinema, she is now a music teacher in a government school in MGR Nagar,” Rengasamy said and added that he has received 18 awards from various organisations so far.

When asked about his future goals, he said, “As of now, I am competing in 80 to 85 years category. I want to compete in 85 to 90 years category. My seniors are my motivation.”

In the morning and evening, he plays badminton in Corporation park in the neighbourhood and also sings spiritual and cinema songs to his friends. “I want to send a message to youngsters that age is just a number to achieve in life. They can shine in whatever profession they want if they put cent per cent hard work,” Rengasamy said.

M Chitharth