The 'Star of Punjab' award was conferred on hockey legend Balbir Singh, former hockey coach Rajinder Singh and world's oldest runner Fauja Singh at the 7th annual function of the International Fateh Academy here on Tuesday. Education Minister Daljeet Singh Cheema was the chief guest on the occasion.
The award is given to personalities who have excelled in their respective fields and made Punjab proud.
Balbir Singh is the only Indian to have been chosen by the International Olympic Association among the 16 greatest sportspersons of all times in the world since the start of Olympic games.
Apart from being a rare triple Olympic gold medallist, Balbir Singh is also the only player in the world to score five goals in an Olympic final of any team sport.
Fauja Singh, who is also known as 'Turbaned Tornado' is the world's oldest runner as at the age of 92, he set the world record for the men's over-90 marathon run in five hours and 40 minutes.
He went on to set similar records in the 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m, 3,000m and 5,000m runs.
The award was also conferred on former coach of India's hockey team Rajinder Singh, who had earlier been presented with Dronacharya and Arjuna Awards.
The theme of the annual function of the International Fateh Academy, held at its premises, was 'Punjab through the pages of the history'. The events unfolded from the times of Guru Nanak Dev's birth when society was enveloped in ignorance and was the butt of the Mughal atrocities. With the advent of Guru Nanak Dev, there was a transition from "darkness to light".
The forceful conversion of non-Muslims to Islam and the sacrifice of Guru Teg Bahadur for the religious freedom of the people of Hindu religion were well portrayed at the event. The teachings of the Gurus were beautifully communicated.
The rise of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur was depicted with skillful display of the Sikh aartial art Gatka by the students of the Gatka Centre of Sports Authority of India situated at International Fateh Academy. The show displayed a spell of peace and harmony during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh in Punjab.
With the British rule, hardships become the destiny of Punjab once again. The Jallianwala Bagh massacre of 1919 and the holocaust of Partition in 1947 were also depicted in the show.
"Even today Punjab is suffering and going through difficult times where corruption, unemployment, female foeticide and drug addiction are major issues," said IFA chairman Jagbir Singh.
The other highlight of the function was the Sikh personality show of young boys depicting the grace and charm of their turbans and beards which are an inseparable part of the unique Sikh identity.
Among others present on the occasion were Jandiala Guru MLA Baljit Singh Jalal Usma and SGPC executive member Rajinder Singh Mehta.