(Last Updated on : 24/07/2014)
Charanjit Singh of Himachal Pradesh was the predominant sports personality to talk about. Charanjit Singh, on the sports map of the State, is one who continues to shine like a Polar star. This fantabulous centre halfback, Charanjit Singh was born on 22nd November 1930 at Mairi village in Una district of the State. He did his schooling from Khalsa Schools in Gurdaspur and Lyallpur. After that he went on to obtain B.Sc. (Agri) from Government Agriculture College, Ludhiana. This kind of combination of a scholar and a sportsman is a rare thing. At a very early age, he developed interest in hockey and was member of his school team.
In the year 1949, he played for Punjab University. Charanjit Singh was made the captain of the University team in the year 1950. He got a fortune to play all major tournaments held at that time in the country after joining the Punjab Police in the year 1950. He was included as the member of the team during the tour of Pakistan in the year respectively 1951 and 1955. In the year 1958, Charanjit Singh was made the captain of the Punjab State team. In the same year, he was included in the national team that toured the country. With the Indian National hockey team, he toured Europe in the year1959.
Charanjit Singh participated at the 1960 Olympics held at Rome. But a misfortune happened due to the fractured fibula. Thus he was unable to play the final match against Pakistan. At that match Pakistan defeated India. It was bad luck on the part of India that eminent player like Charanjit Singh could not participated in that match. In the year 1961, Charanjit was made the Vice-Captain of the National team that toured New Zealand and Australia. He also participated in the 1962 Asian Games held in Jakarta. On a tour to East Africa and Europe, he captained the Indian side. In the 1962 International Hockey Tournament held in Ahmedabad, he led India to victory and also at the 1963 Lyons Hockey Festival in France. The Indian Team at Lyons won all the three trophies i.e. the best team of the world, the best team in hockey technique and the best all-rounder.
In the year 1964, when Charanjit Singh as the captain of the Indian National Hockey team won the Olympic title from Pakistan in Tokyo, that time can be considered as one of his finest hour of glory. Acknowledging his outstanding personification in the field of sports, Indian Government conferred the prestigious Arjuna Award in the year 1963; the Olympic victory earned him the Padma Shri in the year 1964 as well. The Chandigarh Sports Journalists' Award, Himachal Pradesh Sports Journalists' Award, Himachal State Sports Council Award and the Punjab State Council Award, over the years these awards were also conferred to him.
Charanjit Singh held several positions since his retirement from active sports career. He was Emeritus Fellow, University Grants Commission; Director, Physical Education & Youth Programme, Himachal Pradesh University; Director, Students Welfare, Punjab and Haryana Agriculture Universities; National Selector for hockey; Member, Governing Body of Society for National Institute of Physical Education & Sports (SNIPES); Secretary, Himachal Pradesh Olympic Association; Member, Executive Committee, Indian Olympic Association; Member, Himachal Pradesh Sports Council; and Expert Member Himacha Pradesh Public Service Commission. He has also served as a Member of the Advisory Board of All India Radio, Shimla, and the State Education Advisory Board.