“India mein talent ki kami nahi hai, policy ki hai”:Exclusive Interview With WUG Medalist Inderjeet Singh

Published 09/28/2014, 2:59 AM EDT


India! India! India! This is the chant that engulfs the sporting arena when Indian men and women put their bodies on the line for their nation and fight it out every single time they come to the forefront and compete with the best athletes of the world. This is precisely why the exuberance and vigor of these athletes must be acknowledged by every citizen of this great country.

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Inderjeet Singh is one of those athletes who stands confident, focused and determined before the Asian Games. During the course of the interview, what I bluntly realized was that a lot of what we see is plain illusion. The struggle and the reality behind this striking glory cannot be known by any other that the ones who have lived through the perils themselves. This is how my brief interaction with him went:

GOOD MORNING SIR, SO APART FROM FEELING TODAY’S RISING HEAT HOW ARE YOU FEELING BEFORE THE ASIAN GAMES?

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Good morning and thank you for conducting this interview. So as to how I’m feeling at this moment, I’d say that nonchalant. There is a lot of competition out there, but i don’t like taking pressure. I usually enter the ground with a wide smile spread across my face. Laughter is indeed the best medicine for keeping pressure at bay.(laughs)

WHAT IS IT THAT GIVES YOU SO MUCH OF CONFIDENCE?

Practice, practice and practice. There is no substitute for hard work. The more you practice and the amount of hard work you put in is what gives you confidence. Once you put in a substantial amount of effort, you tend to be unaffected by the stress.

YOU RECENTLY BEAT THE 12 YEAR OLD RECORD BY BAHADUR SINGH SAGOO BY MAKING YOUR MARK AT  19.89 m. DOES THAT GIVE YOU A SENSE OF ACHIEVEMENT?

Absolutely not. In the Asian games, we have to cross 20 m. So obviously a 19.89 is not good enough. This is definitely not my best and I have pushed myself a lot during practice which should pay off at the Asian games. Yes, I have made my mark in India, but it isn’t an achievement. As a sportsman I can never get enough of my performance. Because the day I do, I will stop practicing.

HOW MUCH CREDIT WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR COACH Mr. PRITAM SINGH FOR YOUR SUCCESS TODAY?

100%, infact all the credit goes to my Coach. I wouldn’t stand anywhere if it wasn’t for all the training and help he has given me. And i could never thank him enough. He has been coaching me for the past 6-7 years and it is his guidance that makes me what I am today.

HOW DID YOU GET INTO SHOT PUT? AND HENCE COMMENCE YOUR CAREER IN IT?

Well honestly my recognition in the field of sport was rather in an unexpected way. I did my schooling from Delhi Public School,Nigahi and it was my PE teacher there who was selecting kids for shot put. My extremely dear friend Vashishth Munisingh suggested my name as I wasn’t in the school premises on that very day. For me, main CBSE cluster jeeta aur uske baad medals pe medals aate gaye. Then I became the Junior National Champion. In the year 2007 , I lost my father and it was in order to fulfill his dream of seeing me become the national champion, that I gave my everything to this sport.

WHICH ACCORDING TO YOU IS YOUR BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT SO FAR IN TERMS OF YOUR MEDAL TALLY?

My biggest achievement was when I bagged a silver medal in the World University Games which are considered to be the biggest games second only to the Olympics. But it saddens me that India does not even consider the WUG in their grant policy for sportsmen. There is very less initiative taken by the governing bodies to prepare WUG champions. I have won one of the biggest medals of all time and it still holds no value in terms of the grants provided. I am the first Indian in history to win a medal in the WUG which for me is a big honor.

YOU MENTIONED ABOUT THE POLICY GRANTS, SO WHAT ACCORDING TO YOU DOES INDIA LACK IN THE FIELD OF SPORTS, THAT IS ACTUALLY PUSHING US DOWN TODAY?

India mein talent ki kami nahi hai, policy ki hai. Our previous generation has bugged our mind with the “you have to study in order to make a good future” statement, and it is this very thing which I believe that comes as a barrier in the minds of a lot of budding sportsmen in our country. The governance has to boost people and show them their scope and opportunity in the field of sports. This can only be done by providing sports doctors, sports physicians and sports dietitians.

LIKE MANCHESTER UNITED AND CHELSEA, LIKE INDIA AND PAKISTAN, LIKE LA LAKERS AND MIAMI HEAT, LIKE INDERJEET SINGH AND…..?

I consider myself to be my toughest competition. i have turned a blind eye towards the rest, because I believe that my quest of fighting with myself, my fears and my insecurities is the biggest competition for me.

THERE IS NO EASY PATH TO SUCCESS AND LIKEWISE THERE IS NO WINNING WITH A BIT OF HURDLES. WHICH HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST HURDLE OF YOUR LIFE?

Ever since i have commenced my career in sports until today that i am representing India in the Asian games, i have seen nothing but hurdle in my life. everyday is the same, 10 hour practice, excessively particular diet and meditation. there is nothing called festivals in our life. it has been ages since anyone actually plastered those unhygienic holi colours on my face wishing me Happy holi, or I can’t recall the last time i was allowed to enjoy my favorite

medals of all time and it still holds no value in terms of the grants provided. I am the first Indian in history to win a medal in the WUG which for me is a big honor.

 YOU MENTIONED ABOUT THE POLICY GRANTS, SO WHAT ACCORDING TO YOU DOES INDIA LACK IN THE FIELD OF SPORTS, THAT IS ACTUALLY PUSHING US DOWN TODAY?

India mein talent ki kami nahi hai, policy ki hai. our older generation has bugged our mind with the ” you have to study in order to make a good future” statement, and it is this very thing that comes as a barrier to a lot of budding sportsmen in our country. the governance has to boost up these people and show them their scope in the field of sports. this can only be done by providing sports doctors, sports physicians and sports dietitians.

LIKE MANCHESTER UNITED AND CHELSEA, LIKE INDIA AND PAKISTAN, LIKE LA LAKERS AND MIAMI HEAT, LIKE INDERJEET SINGH AND…..?

I consider myself to be my toughest competition. I have turned a blind eye towards the rest, because I believe that my quest of fighting with myself, my fears and my insecurities is the biggest competition for me.

THERE IS NO EASY PATH TO SUCCESS AND LIKEWISE THERE IS NO WINNING WITH A BIT OF HURDLES. WHICH HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST HURDLE OF YOUR LIFE?

Ever since I have commenced my career in sports, until today that I am representing India in the Asian games, I have seen nothing but hurdles in my life. Everyday is the same, 10 hour practice, a strictly fixed diet and meditation. There is no festival in our life. It has been ages since anyone actually plastered those unhygienic Holi colors on my face wishing me a Happy Holi, or I can’t recall the last time i was allowed to enjoy my favorite MITHAI. It hurts that after all of this struggle,people laugh at you when you don’t win anything. My own countrymen do not motivate me when I compete. It burns a player from the inside. Even in sports ,the JISKI LAATHI USKI BAINS policy is applicable. There is nothing but struggle that we face. I for one am not able to find a satisfactory job and still have to repay a lot of my loans. I remember when, in order to fund me during the earlier stage of my career, my family had to sell our shop and land. So it really isn’t easy being a sportsman without heavy sponsors. And finding sponsors is perhaps the biggest hurdle in the life of a sportsman in today’s times.

WHICH IS YOUR MOST MEMORABLE MOMENT? THE MOMENT WHEN YOU COULDN’T HELP BUT SMILE WITH PRIDE AND JOY?

In 2006, I was awarded the Eklavya Puraskar and I had gone to receive it with my father. When i descended the stage stairs, my father’s chest had expanded with pride and he called up my mother saying ki aaj meri zindagi safal ho gayi hai..aaj maine apni zindagi ji li hai. And this for me was the key that made me get charged towards winning more. And winning big.

WHICH DESTINATION DO YOU THINK THAT THE TRAIN WHICH YOU HAVE BOARDED WILL TAKE YOU TO IN THE NEXT 5 YEARS?

Well it is not just mine but I am sure it is every sportsperson’s dream to get an Olympic medal.

So yes, I am aspiring for a gold in the next 2016 Olympics. I want to turn all the inputs combined with more hard work and get an outstanding result. I want to create history again by being the first Indian to win a medal in athletics.

LASTLY I WOULD LIKE YOU TO GIVE OUT AN INSPIRING MESSAGE TO ALL OUR READERS

Hard work has no substitute. Do not quit till your last breath and always stay focused, no matter what.

THANK YOU SIR FOR YOU VALUABLE TIME. SO BEFORE LEAVING, OUR READERS WOULD LIKE TO KNOW WHEN YOU WILL BE DEPARTING FOR INCHEON. 

I and my Coach will be taking the flight to Incheon tonight. Thanks a lot for having me here.

 

Throughout the interview, there were some things that struck me very strongly and made me put in some serious thought about the state of athletes in our country. Why is it that always, a budding athlete has to be squeezed to the point of no return and go to the extent of mortgaging and selling his personal possessions to afford a decent training? In a country with such promising sports persons, do we as citizens not feel distraught at the sight of the state of these individuals?

The first step towards making even a slight difference to the present scenario would be by taking a keen interest in the proceedings of Indian Sports. Not knowing major events like the WUG is definitely not the way to go about things. Supporting them in the most trivial of manners can act as a major source of motivation to these penitent looking individuals. We have to ensure along with the government that the money reaches these individuals. As Emil Zatopek says:

“An athlete cannot run with money in his pockets. He must run with hope in his heart and dreams in his head.”

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On this very note, I hope that this interview has struck a chord with you and will make you think about the small things you can do to significantly make a difference in these sportpersons’ lives.

Interview Courtesy: “India for Sports. IFS is the first and only athlete funding channel. Support it’s fund raising campaign for Inderjeet Singh.”

Here is the Link to their Website: https://www.indiaforsports.com/campaign/InderjeetSingh

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Harit Pathak

164 articles

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