HISTORY

With a straggly white beard exploding down his chest and resplendent in a black turban, Singh's appearance alone is striking enough; but the truly astonishing nature of his achievement lies in his age – 101 years young. It has turned him into a minor celebrity, at least in marathon circles, and yet his rise to 'fame' has not been without its pitfalls.

 

Singh has found himself embroiled in an unlikely row with the Guinness World Records, who are refusing to acknowledge his claim as the oldest marathon runner in history, prompting claims that the organisation is guilty of "institutional racism".

 

That allegation came from Fauja's trainer, Harmander Singh, who says Guinness's insistence that only a birth certificate is acceptable as evidence of age excludes much of the developing world.

 

Fauja, a member of the 'Sikhs in the City' running club who has lived in Britain since 1992, grew up in a rural community in the Punjab where birth certificates were not issued, though he has other Indian documents and a UK passport that records his date of birth as April 1, 1911. On reaching 100 last year, he received a congratulation message from the Queen.

 

Harmander said: "I don't think Guinness are racist intentionally but their processes are institutionally racist because they are clearly and deliberately saying that a birth certificate is important. If he wasn't issued with a birth certificate, it wasn't his fault, and we the British were in charge of India at the time.

Fauja Singh

Marathon man Fauja Singh runs into racism row – aged 101 – on the eve of the London race

Hong Kong: A 101-year-old Sikh believed to be the world's oldest marathon runner said on Thursday he felt sad to be retiring from competitive events, as he prepared for his last race this weekend. Fauja Singh, nicknamed the "Turbaned Tornado",

Fauja Singh

Marathon man Fauja Singh runs into racism row – aged 101 – on the eve of the London race

Hong Kong: A 101-year-old Sikh believed to be the world's oldest marathon runner said on Thursday he felt sad to be retiring from competitive events, as he prepared for his last race this weekend. Fauja Singh, nicknamed the "Turbaned Tornado",

Fauja Singh

Marathon man Fauja Singh runs into racism row – aged 101 – on the eve of the London race

Hong Kong: A 101-year-old Sikh believed to be the world's oldest marathon runner said on Thursday he felt sad to be retiring from competitive events, as he prepared for his last race this weekend. Fauja Singh, nicknamed the "Turbaned Tornado",

Fauja Singh

Marathon man Fauja Singh runs into racism row – aged 101 – on the eve of the London race

Hong Kong: A 101-year-old Sikh believed to be the world's oldest marathon runner said on Thursday he felt sad to be retiring from competitive events, as he prepared for his last race this weekend. Fauja Singh, nicknamed the "Turbaned Tornado",

Fauja Singh

Marathon man Fauja Singh runs into racism row – aged 101 – on the eve of the London race

Hong Kong: A 101-year-old Sikh believed to be the world's oldest marathon runner said on Thursday he felt sad to be retiring from competitive events, as he prepared for his last race this weekend. Fauja Singh, nicknamed the "Turbaned Tornado",

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