Early Life of Harbinder Singh
Harbinder Singh was born on 8 July in the year 1943 at Quetta, in modern Pakistan. He represented Cantonment Board High School, Jalandhar district, in football. He also made a mark in athletics, though by the time of his college days, he settled for hockey, where he performed with distinction.
Harbinder Singh studied at the Khalsa College in Amritsar. He was selected to represent the college both in hockey and athletics. In the Inter-University Athletics Meet held at Kanpurin the year 1959, he represented Panjab University. He represented Punjab State at the Inter-University Hockey Tournament held in the year 1961, in Junior National Athletics Meet at Trivandrum in 1959 and National Hockey Championship at Hyderabad in 1961 and at Bhopal in 1962. After that he joined to serve the Railways. He represented the Railway in the National Hockey Championship till 1972. In the year1967, in the Open National Athletics Championship, he also represented Railways athletics team at Sangrur disrict, winning a Gold Medal in 4x100 metres relay race.
Career of Harbinder Singh
Harbinder Singh has a strong record in both the domestic and international levels of hockey, and also captained the Indian team, leading it in good international performances.
He earned the hockey national colours in the year 1961, when he was included in the team that toured New Zealand and Australia. Later he played the 1962 International Hockey Tournament held in Ahmedabad and the 1963 International Tournament held in Lyons (France).
Harbinder Singh was also included in the Indian National hockey team that played in Hamburg and London. He represented India three times at the Olympic Games, at Tokyo (1964), Mexico City (1968) and Munich (1972). The Indian team won the Gold at Tokyo, and the Bronze in both Mexico and Munich. Under his captaincy the Indian hockey won Silver at the 1970 Asian Games held in Bangkok. Harbinder Singh was the chief coach to the Indian women's hockey team that won Bronze at the 1986 Asian Games in Seoul.
Awards and Honours of Harbinder Singh
He was given the Arjuna Award in 1967, and won the 'Railway Sportsman of the Year' Award for the season of 1971-72. As a member of the Indian team in its most triumphant phase, Harbinder Singh had much to prove. He stepped into a vacancy left by hockey legends Dhyan Chandand Balbir Singh Sr., and yet held his own, establishing him as a remarkable exponent of the sport.