He may have missed a medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, but his last deed would have surely won over hearts.
The body of Arjuna awardee Ajmer Singh, an Olympian and Asian Games gold medalist (Jakarta, 1966), has been donated to the Post Graduate Institute for Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here.
The former Olympian passed away on January 26, and his family handed over the body to PGIMER's Department of Anatomy on Sunday. He was 70.
Probably, he's the first Indian Olympian to donate his body for medical research. "It's for the first time we have received the body of a famous personality. When such people donate their bodies, the message reaches far and wide. Besides spreading scientific awareness, it shows another way to serve humanity," said Dr Daisy Sahni, head of the department.
Ajmer Singh's gesture has set an example for sportsmen. "In his youth, he inspired youngsters to join sports and win laurels for the country. In his death, too, he has motivated people to come forward for a cause," said Raja K.S. Sidhu, secretary general of Punjab Olympics Association.
"Ajmer Singh belonged to an era when money hadn't hijacked sport. One pursued it for the sheer pride of turning out for the country," he said. "Not many could do what he did in the last moments of his life."
Ajmer Singh, who hailed from Kupkalan, a small village in Sangrur district of Punjab, clinched gold in 400m relay and silver in 200m at Jakarta. He was conferred the Arjuna Award in 1966.