(Last Updated on : 12/09/2012)
Gurbachan Singh Randhawa is considered one of India's most accomplished athletes. He distinguished himself from a very early age, and was a star athlete in Punjab University
, excelling in hurdles, high jump and many other Field events
and track events in athlete
. Later he specialized in the decathlon at the advice of his coach. Randhawa came from a family with a strong sporting tradition; his father was a noted Punjab
athlete, and Randhawa, following in his father's footsteps, involved himself initially in hurdles. Randhawa achieved national success at the age of only 21. At the 1960 Delhi National Championships, he broke down the previous national record made by Cheema Muthiah with a tally of 5,793 points. His remarkable versatility also stunned the spectators while he won the high jump, javelin and 110 metres hurdles as well in the Championship, also breaking 4 national records in just 2 days.
Randhawa performed sublimely in the 1962 Jakarta Asian games, securing the Gold Medal in the decathlon with a whopping tally of 6739 points, while the silver medallist Shosuke Suzuki of Japan trailed far behind by almost 550 points. A shoulder injury after the Jakarta championship forced him to switch from the decathlon to the 110 metres hurdles.
Gurbachan Singh Randhawa was India's standard bearer at the 1964 Tokya Olympics, where he faced an impressive line up from all the other teams in the 110 m hurdles. Despite his best efforts, he placed fifth in the finals, though the semi-finals saw him achieve a personal best of 14 seconds.
Like Milkha Singh
, his records set at the national level have endured far past his active years. His 14s 110 m hurdle record remains unbroken by an Indian after 40 years, and Randhawa's decathlon barrier of 6,912 points remained unbroken for 12 years until his own trainee, Vijay Singh Chauhan
crossed it. Randhawa was honoured with the Arjuna Award
in 1961 and the Padma Shri
in 2005 and remains a doyen in the world of athletics.
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