India’s No.1 shot-putter heaves a sigh before referring to his preparation for Rio Olympics 2016 “Hard work is going to the coming Olympics. Hopefully I will bring a medal for India”. Inderjeet Singh from a small town of Bhagat Singh Nagar, Haryana strives with grit and courage to live his dreams. When he was qualified for the Rio Olympics 2016, it was a dream come true but the path ahead looked crude and challenging. What with the excellent support he got! To meet the competition at a global level, he needs excellent fitness, training, and diet. With little sponsors and lack of recognition, he is fighting more than a sportive battle. Eyes glitter with hope and Singh is restless to hit the ground after the felicitation program by Alva’s Education Foundation. “I am feeling overwhelmed today, as it’s my first felicitation after winning World University Games,” he says, a towering figure of 6.4 feet and 150 kilograms. He has complains about the government, about IPL and the lack of excellent training. Yet, he has set his aims high.
Inderjeet Singh won his fifth gold medal at the World University Games on July 9 held in Korea. It was his fifth claim in the international level this year. He is the top shot putter of India, yet he is a stranger for both top-notch training and limelight. Moodbidri, under the leadership of Dr M Mohan Alva, decided to felicitate him with Rs 5 lakh.
Here are some extracts from an interview with Inderjeet by Sharvari GC.
India has not won an Olympic medal in Athletics for a long time now. How does it feel when you have created a chance to make history?
Playing for the country is an honor. God has given me this work. I am working hard towards fulfilling not just my dreams, but India’s dream. I want to make the dreams of all erstwhile athletes come true too. It is a responsibility and also an honor. I will give my best to get a medal.
What landed you in the midst of shotput? Please share your journey.
During my early days in the game in Bhagat Singh Nagar, I never thought why, what; I did not have questions. I just wanted to play. My mother and brother supported me for everything after my father’s death in 2007. They sold two family shops and took loans. Now looking back all I can think is, this is my way of serving the country. Yes, we all have to do our bit for the country by raising our flag in different countries of the world. This gives me everything to listen to our National Anthem after winning, standing on the podium.
In your eyes, what is the status of Athletics in India?
There is little pain in the heart about this. Athletes who have accomplished a little like me have no sponsors to make it big. Now, think of the state of budding athletes. My battle is not just for a medal, but also for all those who want to be good athletes. One day, I want to be able to help them in all ways.
You have now visited Alva’s many times. How do you feel down here?
Alva Sir is a very kind person. He loves helping people of all fields. When I won World University Games 2013, he came to know about my plight of lack of sponsors. He has been helping me since. With his help, he is sharing his dream with me. Now, after I won Gold in World University Games, he is encouraging me to win at Rio. He is now like my family. I am very grateful to all of you for helping me. Keep supporting me and people like me.
There are a lot of budding athletes at Alva’s. What would you like to tell them?
Work hard. God will show you the way. With hard work, you can reach anywhere in life. That is most important. There is no alternative for it. Before that, one has to understand what hard work is. My aim is Rio. If I don’t reach the medal, it means I have not done my work; not enough work. It will be true hard work when I have lived my dream.