From Fields to Fame: The Inspiring Sports Journey of Parduman Singh

by Manjari Singh

In the annals of Indian sports history, there are tales of triumph and tragedy, of athletes who soared to great heights only to be forgotten by time. Among these tales stands the remarkable journey of Parduman Singh, a towering figure both in stature and in his athletic achievements.

Hailing from the village of Bhagta Bhai Ka in Patiala district, Parduman Singh was not just a soldier but a beacon of sporting prowess. With a robust physique and a face marked by determination, he etched his name into the annals of Indian athletics with his extraordinary feats.

It was in 1954, during a national meet held at Cuttack, that Parduman Singh first made waves by shattering the national record in hammer throw. With a throw of 47 feet and 3 inches, he eclipsed the previous record set by Madan Lal from Ludhiana. This triumph marked the beginning of a stellar career that would see him rise to prominence on the international stage.

The zenith of Parduman Singh’s career came at the Second Asian Games held in Manila, Philippines, where he showcased his prowess by clinching not one, but two gold medals. With commanding performances in discus throw and shotput, he emerged as a star athlete, bringing glory to the nation.

Undeterred by the weight of expectations, Parduman Singh continued to rewrite records and dazzle audiences. At the Third Asian Games in Tokyo, Japan, he stamped his authority by setting a new record in shotput and adding a gold and a bronze medal to his burgeoning collection.

However, fate dealt a cruel blow during the Fourth Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia, when an injury forced him to settle for silver in discus throw. Despite the setback, Parduman Singh’s legacy as one of the country’s finest athletes remained unquestioned, having amassed three golds, one silver, and one bronze in the span of three editions of the Asian Games.

Yet, behind the glitz and glory lay a tale of neglect and unfulfilled dreams. Despite his remarkable achievements, Parduman Singh retired from sports in 1962, disillusioned by the apathetic attitude of the government. His dream of winning an Olympic gold remained elusive, consigned to the realms of what could have been.

Tragically, recognition came too late for the forgotten hero. It was only after 42 years of his stellar achievements that Parduman Singh was honored with the Arjuna Award, a recognition that came when he was bedridden with paralysis, grappling with the ravages of time and neglect.

In March 2007, Parduman Singh breathed his last at Adesh Medical College and Hospital in Bathinda, leaving behind a legacy that transcended the realm of sports. His tale serves as a poignant reminder of the price of neglect and the fleeting nature of fame, but also as an enduring testament to the indomitable spirit of a forgotten hero.

Manjari Singh

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