Even though the 28-year-old was told that “he was too old to improve,” he never lost hope. “I was determined to win the race myself at the Asian Games,” he said and he did.
Son of a former state-level shot putter Randhir Singh Chahal, Manjit Singh, won gold in the 800m track event in Asian Games. This is India’s first gold in the 800m track event since 1982.
Two years ago, Randhir lost his decent paying job with ONGC. Not just that, since 2015, a hamstring injury has left him in pain. Singh, who became the third Indian field and track athlete to win gold medal in this year’s Asian Games, has not yet met his son. Singh’s gold medal on Tuesday confirmed a long-awaited reunion with his family.
“Since Abhir was born, my husband has not come home, instead training in Ooty and Bhutan. Even though he has been training without a job, he makes sure that he keeps sending Abhir gifts. But this gold medal is the biggest gift for him. When he returns, he would put the gold medal around his neck,” Kiran says, reported The Indian Express.
‘I always came second’
Manjit comes from a family of farmers. “He practises at National Institute of Sports, Patiala, and comes back home once in a year. When he is home, he helps me on the farm and takes care of our cattle,” said Manjit’s father.
But things have not always been smooth for him. He lost his job at ONGC in 2016 and has been mostly relying on his parents’ money for training purposes. The hamstring injury was another blow.
In an academy in Jind, Haryana, Manjit put in a good 9-10 years of hard work before the 2010 Commonwealth Games. Yet he could not win any medals. “Maximum times, I’d come second only,” he remembers. ‘Second-only’ is what was expected from him, as India’s record holder Jinson Johnson was expected to clinch the Gold. He went on to win a silver.
Since his hamstring injury, Manjit could not push himself a lot owing to the pain, but in the last couple of months, he trained harder than ever. “The last two days, this is all we’ve been dreaming about. The gold. He has a capacity of 1:45,” the coach would say, reported The Indian Express.
From losing all hope and believing that he was only good to come ‘second’ to straight to the podium. Manjit has come a long way and made India proud with the gold medal. We hope he goes on to make India proud in the future.