Meet another couple set to be Mrs and Mr Sports, from Punjab. Hockey player Gurwinder Singh Chandi (25), who was part of the Indian team that defeated Pakistan in the Asian Games final earlier this year to bag the gold after 16 years, has got engaged to marry champion athlete and fellow Jalandhar resident Manjeet Kaur (30).
While Chandi was part of the Olympic team in 2012, Manjeet is a two-time Olympian who reached the finals of the 4x400 relay in the 2008 edition. She also holds the national record (50.05 seconds) in 400 meters since 2004. She is also a deputy superintendent of police (DSP) in Punjab.
Though the date of marriage has not yet been decided, the ‘roka’ (engagement) ceremony has been held. “It’s just that our parents decided and a small ‘roka’ ceremony was held three days ago,” Gurwinder told HT. “Other things are yet to be finalised. My parents and other family members will take the final call,” he added.
The story began when Manjeet’s younger brother Davinder Singh, who is also an athlete, was helping the family find a match for his sister, and thought of Chandi, who is one his best friends.
Arjuna awardee Manjeet shared, “My brother and Gurwinder are very close. Davinder spoke to the family, who said yes. We, too, liked the match.”
Know the bride
Born in a village in Gurdaspur to a police sub-inspector and a homemaker, Manjeet, who received the Arjuna award in 2006, is the fourth among five sisters and a brother. At the age of 13, she was put in a boarding school in Jalandhar to get trained in running. She has won over 100 medals in international events, including silver in the Commonwealth Games at Melbourne (2006) and gold each in the Commonwealth Games in 2010 Delhi and the Asian Games the same year. In July 2011, she joined Punjab Armed Police as DSP.
Gurwinder is a product of the legendary Surjit Hockey Academy, Jalandhar. He used to play for Punjab and Sind Bank and now for ONGC, besides representing the national team.
His inspiration came from his uncle Baljit Singh Chandi, a former international hockey player. He has part of the team for the 2010 World Cup in Delhi, and has a silver medal from the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games.
He had debuted for the national side in a four-nation tourney in Australia in 2008 and was part of the gold-winning team at Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia in 2010, won bronze at the same tournament in 2012 and another gold in the Asian Championship.
Tradition of sorts
They are following in what seems to be tradition of sorts, especially for hockey players. Former hockey skipper Rajpal Singh and shooting champion Avneet Kaur Sidhu — both Olympians — are married, while another Olympian couple is Gurmail Singh and Rajbir Kaur, both hockey players, besides hokey players Surjit Singh and Chanchal Surjit Kaur.
Another such couple is legendary athlete Milkha Singh and former Indian volleyball captain Nirmal Kaur. Hardeep Kaur and Gurpreet Singh, both international athletes, are also married.
From the hockey team, current skipper Sardar Singh has a love story too, which started in 2012 when he was surprised to find a message in his Facebook inbox from Ashpal Kaur, a former England under-19 hockey player. Initially, he was lukewarm but gradually he gave in.