“The sporting life of the legendary first Arjuna Awardee athlete Gurbachan Singh Randhawa who made the country shine like a star in the International athletics arena, would forever be a beacon of inspiration for the other Indian players till eternity.” These views were expressed here today by the Sports, Higher Education and Linguistics Minister Pargat Singh while dedicating to the people the biography ‘Uddna Baaz’ of Olympian Gurbachan Singh Randhawa penned by eminent sports writer Navdeep Singh Gill.
The impressive gathering here at the Punjab Kala Bhawan included Sports Minister Pargat Singh, Olympian Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, ex DGP and Senior Vice President Punjab Olympic Association Rajdeep Singh Gill, President Punjabi Sahit Akademi Prof. Ravinder Bhatthal, Chairman Punjab Lok Virasat Akademi Prof. Gurbhajan Singh Gill, Secretary General Punjab Kala Parishad, International Shooter Gurbir Singh Sandhu and Publisher of ‘Uddna Baaz’ Harish Jain from Unistar books.
In his address on the occasion, Sports Minister Pargat Singh said that the very fact that Gurbachan Singh Randhawa made it to the finals of the olympics, was adjudged Best Athlete at the Asian Games and achieved 4 National records within 2 days, speaks volumes about the peerles prowess of the iconic athlete. “Punjabis can create history but can’t preserve it, in order to change the misnomer it has been decided to write a series of biographies our great sporting icons of yore and beginning has been made from Gurbachan Singh Randhawa.
It is noteworthy that Gurbachan Singh Randhawa was the flag bearer of the Indian contingent at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics where he bagged 5th position in the 110 Metre Hurdles event. He won Gold Medal in 1962 Jakarta Asiad in Decathlon besides the title of Best Athlete. He was bestowed Arjuna Award in 1961 and PadmaShri in 2005. Superannuating as Commandant from CRPF, Gurbachan Singh Randhawa was awarded Rashtrapati Puraskar for meritorious services in Police apart from honorary PhD degree as the Sports Advisor of the Punjabi University Patiala.
The great sporting hero was born on June 6, 1939 at Village Nangli in Amritsar District in the house of S. Tehal Singh and Mata Dhanwant Kaur. His father, brother Harbhajan Singh and son Ranjit Singh Randhawa have earned name and fame in the field of sports. His better half Jaswinder Kaur has also remained a National level athlete in Discus Throw with his in laws at Rurka Kalan also having proven dedication to the sports.
In his speech, Rajdeep Singh Gill praised Gurbachan Singh Randhawa as the most naturally gifted, talented and complete athlete of India. He further said that the Indian athletes derived their inspiration of conquering milestones at world level from Gurbachan Singh Randhawa only who taught them how to perform upto their optimum standard at the Olympics and raise the bar every time.
Eulogizing the legend, Prof. Gurbhajan Singh Gill said that Gurbachan Singh Randhawa illuminated and dazzled the Indian sporting scene and bestrode the athletics like a colossus who left indelible footprints on the sands of time coming from a non-descript village Nangli and caused sensation at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. “This book, a wonderful piece of literature, is not just a chronicler of his sporting achievements but an important document of nation’s sports history. “The past acts as the foundation on which the robust edifice of the permanent emerges and the lessons learnt as well as implemented from the present serve well for the future. The book flowing as it is from the magical pen weaves so exquisitely by prominent sports author Navdeep Singh Gill who has unveiled Gurbachan Singh Randhawa with a new identity before all of us.”, said Prof. Gill.
International Shooter Gurbir Singh Sandhu said that Gurbachan Singh Randhawa is the only complete athlete in the history of the sport who can be called a ‘Decathlete’ in the actual sense. He further added that Gurbachan Singh was gifted with a great and well toned physique which made him an absolute delight to watch on the track. God always blessed him and he was also gifted with such a terrific sense of humour, said the ex VC of Punjabi University Patiala.
Prof. Ravinder Bhatthal said that the sporting life of Gurbachan Singh Randhawa is a perfect example of the laurels earned by the Punjabis. “Navdeep was a college student and aspired to be a player but he has rendered yeoman’s service to the sporting world by donning the role of a sports writer”, said Prof. Bhatthal.
Welcoming the guests, Dr. Lakhwinder Singh Johal expressed deep gratitude to Pargat Singh for ensuring the implementation of Punjabi language.
Making a strong case for preserving the glorious sporting history of Punjab for the sake of posterity, the author of the volume, Navdeep Singh Gill mentioned that apart from being such a great player and the Brand Ambassador of sports, Gurbachan Singh Randhawa can very well be dubbed as the ‘Encyclopedia’ of sports especially the athletics about whom not only every Punjabi but every Indian feels immensely proud.
Harish Jain said that the Lokgeet Prakashan would also publish biographies of more such players.
It would be worth mentioning that this is the 6th masterpiece that has come out from the magical wand (Pen) of Navdeep Singh Gill who is also serving as the Information and Public Relations Department, Government of Punjab. Being such a passionate person when it comes to sports, Navdeep Singh Gill has covered Beijing Olympics in 2008, Doha Asian Games in 2006 and the Commonwealth Games in 2010 as a Sports Reporter with effortless ease and lean.
The book has been brought out by the Unistar Books (Lokgeet Prakashan). It contains 296 pages with detailed mention of the village, family, childhood and sporting career of Gurbachan Singh Randhawa besides his exceptionally rendered service in CRPF, As a Coach, Administrator, Advisor, Selector and Chief of Doping Panel. It also includes amazing anecdotes about his life apart from comprehensive details of his contemporary players. The highlight which carries the day includes pictorial journey of Gurbachan Singh Randhawa’s life right from childhood till now.
On this ocassion Director Sports Parminder Singh Sandhu, Folk Singer Pammi Bai, MD Milkfed Kuldeep Singh Sangha, Dr. Karamjeet Saran, Captain Narinder Singh, Olympian Sukhbir Grewal, Secretary General of Punjab Olympic Association Raja K Singh Sidhu, Dr. Raj Kumar, Pirthipal Singh, Dalmegh Singh, Dr. Opinder Singh Lamba, Randeep Singh Ahluwalia, Gurmangal Singh Rurka, Dr. Ajitpal Singh Chahal and Anurag Bachan Singh Dhindsa were also present.