- India’s first Arjuna awardee Athlete Gurbachan Singh Randhawa calls new athletes to come forward
- During Randhawa’s 18 years of tenure, Indian athletics set many milestones
Demokratic Front, Chandigarh – June16 :
Indian athletic great and the country’s first Arjuna Awardee Sportsperson Gurbachan Singh Randhawa has resigned after serving 18 years as the Chairman of the Selection Committee of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI). Olympian Randhawa recently wrote a letter to the AFI informing them about his decision to voluntarily quit his post.
While expressing satisfaction over his tenure as the Chairman, 85 years old Randhwa said, “My advancing age makes it difficult for me to give the job my 100 per cent. I think it is the right time for me to hand over the reins to a younger person at a time when Indian Athletics is at a very exciting stage of its evolution.”
Indian athletics set several milestones during Randhawa’s tenure, including India getting the country’s first Olympic champion Athlete in the form of Neeraj Chopra. Anju Bobby George won a medal at the World Athletics Championships. Apart from this, Indian Athletes have shown excellent performance in major international tournaments including Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, SAF Games, Asian Athletics Championship etc.
India’s first Arjuna awardee athlete Gurbachan Singh Randhawa said, “Athletics has been in my blood from my childhood, and I am privileged that I could serve the sport in various capacities. After winning the Asian Games Decathlon gold medal in 1962 and finishing fifth in the 110 meter Hurdles in the 1964 Olympic Games where I was the flag bearer in the opening ceremony. In fact, I have been associated with the Athletics Federation for 63 years as an athlete, coach, Government Observer and Chairman of the Selection Committee. Now, when I look back at my career spanning around six decades. I feel great pride and contentment that I was able to serve track and field sport in our country in various capacities.”
Randhawa further added that, “I am immensely grateful for the faith shown by Dr. Lalit K Bhanot, Mr. Suresh Kalmadi and Dr. Adille J. Sumariwalla entrusted me with the important task of chairing the Selection Committee. I am of the firm opinion that the vision of Dr. Lalit K Bhanot and the office-bearers led by Adille J Sumariwalla, Anju Bobby George and others will keep Indian athletics on the road to greater success.”
Born on June 6, 1939, in the village Nangli (Mehta) of Amritsar district, Randhawa retired as Commandant from CRPF. In Randhawa’s family, his father Major Tehal Singh Randhawa, wife Jaswinder and son Ranjeet Singh Randhawa have also been athletes, while his brother Harbhajan Singh Randhawa remained the head coach of the Indian athletics team. He also received the country’s fourth highest civilian honour, the Padma Shri. The biography of Olympian Randhawa ‘Udana Baaz’ was written by sports writer Navdeep Singh Gill. Randhawa’s biography was also included in the Punjab School Education Board’s Class 10 Physical Education textbook.