Another match made in heaven features two Olympians from Punjab. Hockey player Gurwinder Singh Chandi (25) on Sunday married 400m runner and fellow Jalandhar resident Manjeet Kaur (30) in a traditional Sikh ceremony.
Chandi was on the team that defeated Pakistan in the Asian Games final last year to give India the gold medal after 32 years. Manjeet Kaur won the gold medal in the Delhi Commonwealth Games and two successive Asiads. Both have represented India in the Olympics. Many star athletes and sports lovers were at the wedding to bless the couple.
Four generations of hockey players were in attendance. Chandi’s teammates, three-time Olympian Baljit Dhillon, 1980 Moscow Olympics gold medallist and former Indian captain Surinder Singh Sodhi were all there. The cricket World Cup final was on but everyone was too engrossed in the wedding to follow the score.
Olympians Harpreet Singh, Rajinder Singh junior, Sarvanjit Singh, Baljeet Sain, and Col Balbir Singh; and international hockey players Tejbir Singh, Ravi Pal Singh, Bikramjit Singh, and Prabhdeep Singh were among the guests. Shooter Avneet Kaur Sidhu and former hockey captain Rajpal Singh, the last pair of Olympians to tie the knot, also blessed the couple. About her post-marriage experience, Avneet said: “The mutual understanding has been the best. Sportspersons prove to be perfect matches. We are very happy for Chandi and Manjeet Kaur.”
Manjeet’s team mates Rajwinder Kaur, Mandeep Kaur, and Sagardeep Kaur also attended their friend’s wedding, as did former Indian basketball captain Sajjan Singh Cheema.
Chandi was on the 2012 Olympic team, while Manjeet Kaur competed in two Olympics and reached the 4x400 relay final of in London 2012. She also holds the national record (50.05 seconds) in 400-m sprint since 2004. She is a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) in Punjab.
Manjeet Kaur’s younger brother, Davinder Singh, who is also an athlete, was helping the family find a match for her when he thought of Chandi, one his best friends. “My brother and Gurwinder are very close,” said the bride, adding: “Davinder proposed the match to the family, and we liked it.”
Tradition of sorts
Chandi and Manjeet are following what seems to be a tradition of sorts for Punjab’s athletes in general and hockey players in particular. Besides Rajpal Singh and Avneet Kaur Sidhu, we have the examples of Olympian couples Gurmail Singh and Rajbir Kaur; and Surjit Singh and Chanchal Surjit Kaur.
Legendary athlete “Flying Sikh” Milkha Singh married former Indian volleyball captain Nirmal Kaur. International player Hardeep Kaur and Gurpreet Singh are also in wedlock.
Know the bride
Manjeet Kaur, born at a village in Gurdaspur to a police sub-inspector and a homemaker, received the Arjuna Award in 2006. She is fourth among five sisters and a brother. At 13, she was put in a boarding school in Jalandhar to get trained in running. She has won more than 100 international medals, including the silver in the Melbourne (2006) Commonwealth Games, and the gold in the Delhi (2010) CWG, and the Doha (2006) and Guangzhou (2010) Asiads. In 2011, she joined Punjab Armed Police as DSP.
Know the groom
Gurwinder Sing Chandi is a product of the legendary Surjit Hockey Academy in Jalandhar. He has played for Punjab and Sind Bank, ONGC, and the national team. His uncle, former hockey international Baljit Singh Chandi, is his role model. He played in the 2010 World Cup in Delhi, and won the silver medal in the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. He debuted for the national side in a four-nation meet in Australia in 2008 and won the gold medal at Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia in 2010, the bronze at the same tournament in 2012, and another gold in the Asian Championship.