New Delhi: Hockey India on Thursday mourned the demise of hockey legend Padma Shri and Arjuna Awardee Charanjit Singh who passed away in Una district, Himachal Pradesh due to age-related complications. He was 92. The two-time Olympian was part of India’s glorious days. ‘
A charismatic halfback, Charanjit Singh had led the Indian team to a historic Gold Medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, beating Pakistan in the final, and was also part of the Indian team that won silver in the 1960 Olympic Games in Rome.
Born on 20 November 1929, Charanjit Singh was an alumnus of Col. Brown Cambridge School, Dehradun, and Punjab University. After his illustrious career in international hockey, he worked as Director of the Physical Education department at Himachal Pradesh University, in Shimla.
When Hockey India had interviewed the legend in June 2021, for the Hockey India Flashback Series in the lead-up to the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020, he had fondly remembered the final against Pakistan during the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. He had further remembered about the grand welcome they received upon returning to India wearing the coveted Gold medal around their necks.
“Winning two medals for the country has been a moment of pride and honour for me. You know, after winning the Gold Medal at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, we were accorded a warm welcome on our arrival at the airport, a lot of fans had assembled, and it was a very special feeling for every one of us.”
“Hockey was a very popular sport in India. It was given more importance because of the rich history, and our country had dominated in this sport in early years. We had won many Gold medals at a prestigious event like the Olympics, and that was the key reason behind it,” the nonagenarian had stated while speaking about Indian hockey’s golden era.
Condoling Charanjit Singh’s demise, Hockey India President Gyanendro Ningombam said: “It is a sad day for the hockey fraternity. Even in his old age, he would light up every time there were conversations about hockey and he could accurately recall every great moment he was part of India’s golden days of hockey.
He was a legendary halfback who inspired an entire generation of players. He was a very cool-headed Captain and he will forever be remembered for his incredible skills on the field and for his humility off the field. On behalf of Hockey India, I expressed my deepest condolences to his family.”
Apart from Gyanendro Ningombam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday expressed condolences over the demise of hockey legend Padma Shri and Arjuna Awardee Charanjit Singh who passed away in Una district, Himachal Pradesh due to age-related complications.
“Saddened by the passing away of a noted Hockey player, Shri Charanjit Singh. He played a key role in the successes of the Indian Hockey Team, most notably in the Rome and Tokyo Olympics in the 1960s. Condolences to his family and friends. Om Shanti,” PM Modi tweeted.
Minister of Sports, Youth Affairs and Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur also shared solace to the late legendry Hockey player. “The demise of former Indian hockey player and captain Shri Charanjit Singh ji, born in Una, Devbhoomi Himachal, is sad. Your death is a great loss to the sports world. Under the leadership of Charanjit ji, the Indian team won the gold medal in the Tokyo Olympics in 1964. He had exceptional talent in sports.” tweeted in Hindi.