Renowned wrestler and coach Sukhchain Singh Cheema dies in road accident
Sukhchain Singh Cheema, who was a bronze medallist in the 1974 Tehran Asian Games, is the son of ‘Rustum-e-Hind’ title winner and Olympian Kesar Singh Cheema. He also coached his son, Olympian Parwinder Singh Cheema.other sports Updated: Jan 11, 2018 16:44 IST
Renowned wrestler and coach Sukhchain Singh Cheema (68), who was a Dronacharya Awardee, died in a road accident Wednesday night on the Patiala Bypass.
The accident happened near Shermajra Chowk -- 10km away from the city on the Patiala-Rajpura bypass -- when Cheema was returning home from his farm in Bhanri village.
Investigation officer Manjit Singh said an alto car coming from Rajpura side rammed into Cheema’s Toyata Etios, which turned turtle. He was immediately rushed to Government Rajindera Hospital, where he succumbed to the head injuries he suffered during the accident.
A pall of gloom descended among sports fraternity in the city following the death of Cheema, who was training at least 60 wrestlers in National Institute of Sports in the city.
Cheema, who was a bronze medallist in the 1974 Tehran Asian Games, is the son of ‘Rustum-e-Hind’ title winner and Olympian Kesar Singh Cheema. Sukhchain also coached his son, ‘Rustum-e-Hind’ and Olympian Parwinder Singh Cheema, a former Commonwealth Games champion and an Arjuna Awardee.
He belonged to a family with wrestling heritage that can be traced back to the time when wrestlers were patronised by local kings, including the Maharaja of Patiala. After Partition, Patiala”s wrestling legacy found continuity in Kesar Singh Cheema, who migrated from Pakistan.
Kesar won the “Rustam-e-Hind” and “Bharat Kesri” titles and represented India at the 1952 Olympics. He also established an akhara close to the National Institute of Sports (NIS) in Patiala, where son Sukhchain honed his skills as a wrestler, before taking over as a coach.
His sudden demise would leave a huge void in Punjab and Indian wrestling as well as the akhara and dangal circuit.