Ajit Pal Singh

Ajit Pal Singh
Full nameAjit Pal Singh
BornApril 1947 (age 68)
Sansarpur, Punjab, India
Height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[1]
Playing positionHalfback

Ajit Pal Singh was an Indian professional field hockey player from Sansarpur, Punjab. He was the captain of the Indian hockey team. He was the best center-forward during his time. He was captain of the Indian team at the Hockey World Cup 1975 held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

He represented India in three Olympics from 1968 through 1976, winning bronze medals in his first two Olympic Games.[3] He was appointed as India's chef de mission for 2012 Summer Olympics. It was the first time that a sports person was given this opportunity, as earlier this position went to either politicians or administrators.[4] However, he could not make it to the event due to severe spondylitis.[5]Seven member IOA, Indian Olympic Association Committee selected in April 2012 Ajit Pal Singh as Chef de Mission for Indian mission in London 2012 Olympics. At present, he is organizing member of All India Balwant Singh Kapur Hockey Tournament for Mata Parkash Kaur Cup held every year for school boys under-16. He is a recipient of the civilian honor of Padma Shri (1992).[6]

 

 

Early life

Singh was born on April 1947 at Sansarpur, a small village near Jalandhar Cantonment of Punjab, which was famous as a breeding ground for the hockey stars as this village had been home to a number of international hockey players who had done the nation proud with their commendable performance in the game.

Domestic Hockey

At the age of 7 or 8 years, little Ajitpal had been handed over a Hockey stick by his uncle. He studied at the Cantonment Board Higher Secondary School, Jalandhar Cantonment and at the age of 16, he represented the Punjab State Schools Hockey team in 1963. During his starting days, He used to play at the Full Back position. He moved to the Lyallpur Khalsa College, Jalandhar in 1964, and stayed there for a period of 4 years leading the college to 3 victories in the Punjab University College tournament. From here Ajit shifted Full Back to Center Half, his real position. He was named the Captain of Punjab University Hockey team in 1966.

International Hockey

  • Ajit Pal Singh made his debut in International Hockey with a tournament played at Bombay in 1960.
  • He was selected in the Indian Hockey team that visited Japan in 1966 and participated in the Pre-Olympic tournament held in London the next year. Further, he played in the Olympic Games Mexico 1968 and delivered a brilliant performance although the Indian Hockey squad stood at the 3rd spot at the event.
  • In 1970 Ajit played for the Indian Hockey team at Bangkok Asian Games and was made the Captain of the Indian squad that took part in Post Shuan Tournament held at Singapore in 1971, and Tehran Asian Games 1974. The Indian team managed to grab a Silver Medal at both the events.
  • Ajit was a part of the Indian squad at Munich Olympic Games 1972, where the team finished at 3rd spot getting a Bronze Medal.
  • Later, He led the Indian Hockey team to World Cup Hockey tournament held at Kuala Lumpur in 1975 leading the team to win the tournament.
  • In the year 1976 Indian team fared really bad and finished at the 7th spot on Montreal Olympic Games. After this failure, Ajit Pal Singh retired from International Hockey, although he participated in his last International Hockey event in 1980 at Champions Trophy Tournament, Karachi. Even after his retirement from International Hockey, Ajit continued to play in Domestic Hockey Circuit for Border Security Force (B.S.F.) team.

Awards

As an honor to his outstanding contribution to Indian Hockey, Ajit Pal Singh was conferred upon the Arjuna Award in 1972. Further, he was also given the Padma Shri award in 1992 by Indian Government.[6]

See also

  • List of Indian hockey captains in Olympics
  • Field hockey in India
  • India national field hockey team

References

 
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