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Bridge gave me a husband and a chance to represent India at Asian Games: 79-year-old Rita Choksi

With the game of bridge ( game of cards) set to make its debut in the upcoming Asian Games 2018 at Jakarat, Indonesia, India have a unique squad getting ready for the same.

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Bridge gave me a husband and a chance to represent India at Asian Games: 79-year-old Rita Choksi
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With the game of bridge ( game of cards) set to make its debut in the upcoming Asian Games 2018 at Jakarat, Indonesia, India have a unique squad getting ready for the same.

India’s 24-member team of card players carries an average age of 60 and out of which four players are 70-plus.

Speaking to Indian Express, 79-year-old Rita Choksi narrates her association with Asian Games. When asked if she was the oldest member of the Indian contingent, she counter-asked, “Are you sure I am the oldest member of this Asian Games contingent?”

Her association with Asian Games goes ages back. She had lived at the National Capital’s upmarket Asiad Village complex, the one built for the 1982 Games for years before she sold it commercially. In a wonderful turn taken by life, cards game got inducted in the Asian Games and she gets a chance to get a real Games experience.

“I have been told that we will be staying at the Games Village along with other athletes. It will be great to be part of the Indian team at the village. But I hope I don’t look my age,” she said.

“I don’t have any ailments which are associated with people of my age. I pop Ayurveda pills but that is a preventive measure,” the bridge player added.

The secret behind her being healthy when compared to most of the people of her age is “regular exercise — morning walks, breathing exercises and yoga — and a healthy diet of fish, broccoli and salads.”

Her team mates, however, do have worrisome hearth issues, which has got the team manager Maneesh Bahuguna worried. “Seven players take medication for mild blood pressure. So I reached out to the World Bridge Federation and the National Anti-Doping Agency just to be sure there was no ban on bridge players taking atenolol, a beta blocker commonly used to treat blood pressure. Atenolol is banned in golf and archery, but in bridge it is fine,” he said.

Choksi’s bridge career has taken her places and helped her meet interesting people, which included her second husband as well.

It was during a bridge tournament when she met her late second husband, Dr Haren Choksi. Both were married when they crossed paths but they seemed to be fated to be together. “He first saw me at a bridge tournament. We played together. It was love at first sight for Dr Choksi. Where else could he have met me, I have been playing bridge for donkey’s years,” she says.

Following the death of her husband, the two bridge players decided to become partners off the table too.

Unfortunately, tragedy struck again as Dr Choksi died in the early 90s. However, the strong woman moved on in life and still is an active player in bridge.

She will be a part of the 550-member Indian contingent fighting for the prestigious Asian Games medal next month.

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