hi INDiA Copyright 2022
Una, January 27
Charanjit Singh, captain of the Indian hockey team that won gold at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games, died at the age of 92 here today. Charanjit was also a member of the team which won silver at the 1960 Rome Olympics.
Our team showed great character
We were tested hard but also showed great character, and won the match by a narrow 1-0 margin to return home with that historic gold medal. — Charanjit Singh on his Olympic gold
Charanjit had suffered a paralytic stroke around five years ago and his health deteriorated some two months ago. On Wednesday, he had to be rushed to hospital but his condition stabilised and he was brought back home, said his son VK Singh. However, he passed away around 5 am today and was cremated in the evening.
The hockey legend, who hailed from Mairi village in Amb subdivision of Una district, had a passion for the sport since his student days in Lahore before Independence.
He represented India in two Asian Games as well and was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 1963 and the Padma Shri the next year. After his career as a player was over, he served as Director (Sports) in HP University, and upon retirement he moved to Una city. Charanjit’s home ‘Olympus’ is located near Una’s Indira Gandhi Sports Complex, which he used to visit till his health allowed. One of the best halfbacks of the world when at his prime, Charanjit was over 30 when he first figured in the Olympics, at Rome in 1960, when India were beaten by Pakistan in the final. In 1962, India lost to Pakistan in the final of the Asian Games too.
The Indians were eager to snatch back the Olympics gold in 1964 and under Charanjit, they won a few tournaments in the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics. They were now considered the favourites again, and they remained unbeaten in the tournament, winning seven matches and drawing two in 12 days, including a sweet 1-0 over Pakistan in the final. Recalling that match last year, Charanjit said: “We were tested hard but also showed great character, and won the match by a narrow 1-0 margin to return home with that historic gold medal.”