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Hockey: Olympian Varinder Singh no more

During his almost two decades in international hockey, he won an Olympic bronze medal (1972), two silver medals in Asian Games (1974 and 1978) and a gold medal in World Cup (1975).

Chandigarh: Olympian Varinder Singh, who represented India in the 1972 Munich and 1976 Montreal Olympic Games, breathed his last at a private hospital in Jalandhar on Tuesday. He was 75.

Born a few months before India got its freedom on August 15, 1947, Varinder Singh, took to hockey in his early days and quickly rose to represent the country in various international tournaments, including Asian Games, Olympic Games and World Cups.

During his almost two decades in international hockey, he won an Olympic bronze medal (1972), two silver medals in Asian Games (1974 and 1978) and a gold medal in World Cup (1975).

Considered one of the best attacking halfbacks, Varinder Singh, Veeru to his friends, also had the distinction of representing India in major hockey events, played both on natural grass (Munich Olympic Games, Teheran Asian Games and Kuala Lumpur World Cup) and also on the newly introduced synthetic surface – AstroTurf (Montreal Olympic Games)

His best performance came in the 1975 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur. He was also a member of the Indian team that participated in the 1978 World Cup at Buenos Aires in Argentina.

After his playing days and on retiring from Indian Railways, Varinder Singh had settled in Jalandhar. Considered a gentleman-sportsman, Varinder Singh was also a recipient of the Major Dhyan Chand award. He remained associated with various Hockey promotion organisations, including Surjit Singh Memorial Hockey society.

His contemporaries – Ajitpal Singh (captain of the 1975 World Cup champion team) and Brig Harcharan Singh – expressed their deep condolences at the demise of Varinder Singh. Hockey India also condoled his death.Other Olympians and international players who expressed their grief at Varinder Singh’s death included Sukhvir Singh Grewal, Hardeep Grewal, Jagdeep Singh Gill, Gurmail Singh Rai, Rajbir Kaur Rai, Surinder Singh Sodhi, Baldev Singh and Col Balbir Singh.

Prabhjot Singh
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