Ironman: Ironman 70.3 Goa: Teens as well as senior citizens have point to prove

Panaji: As several 18-year-olds queue up for the first time at Ironman 70.3 Goa on Sunday, they’ll almost surely find someone in their late sixties next to them.
The Ironman 70.3 event that begins with a 1.9 km swim off Miramar beach, followed by a 90 km bicycle ride before concluding with a 21.1 km run, attracts everyone. But while it’s understandable that teenagers would be keen to prove a point, what motivates the senior citizens to go through the demanding race?
“I am excited to be here in Goa and plan to have fun at the race,” said Mumbai-based Pervin Batliwala, 68. “Age is just a number, it’s important to have some physical activity in your life and stay healthy.”
If Pervin at 68 amazes you, listen to Ariez Kharaz.
“I am 70 and the oldest (here). I’ve been doing marathons, cycling and triathlons for the last 25 years across India,” he said.
Pervin and Ariez have teamed up to do the ‘relay’ and they’ll be joined by Zarir Baliwalla. Each one of them will do one leg of the swim, cycle and run, and together they are fittingly called ‘Goldies not Oldies’.
“I am friends with Pervin and Ariez for over a decade and we often train together,” said 62-year-old Zarir, a competitive swimmer since his school days. “I will be doing the swim leg as part of the relay. I’ve participated in triathlons since the last eight years, including four individual Olympic distance triathlons.”
Ironman 70.3 is considered the ultimate test of the mental and physical fitness of competing triathletes and is one of the first international endurance competitions to make its mark in India.
On Sunday, 1,200 athletes will strive to meet the cut-off timings for each of the three legs – swim, cycle, run — and earn the coveted Ironman 70.3 ‘finisher’ title and medal. The top 30 finishers qualify to compete in the World Championship in New Zealand.
Bishworjit Saikhom, winner of last year’s men’s category, has not made it here after picking up an injury. Maharashtra, Karnataka and Haryana top the list of states with the highest number of participants.

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