Three decades after, Gurmail Singh, who was part of the Indian team which won gold at the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, was conferred the Dhyanchand Award by the President of India. The trophy in the hands of the erstwhile icon added to the pride of its owner as he landed in his own city amid celebrations.
Gurmail Singh said, "It was a long wait but not a futile one. A sportsman is very simple at heart and an award only adds to our faith in the game. I always dreamt of this day and after receiving the trophy from the President of India, I am not only proud for myself but for the game too."
However, the iconic player was moved by the condition of the game in his home state in general and home town in particular. He said the central government finally woke up from its slumber and recognised him along with many other players but the state government was still cold towards promoting the game.
Gurmail Singh said it was very difficult to pursue games in a developing country like India and hence, just like a good academician, a sportsperson should also get security in terms of employment from their respective governments. He added this would help them perform their best and make the country proud in their respective sports.
Rajvir Kaur, women's hockey icon and Singh's wife, "It has been a longtime since I wished that the government should recognise my husband who devoted a good part of his life to hockey. I am happy that he has been conferred this award and hope that each and every player in the country gets his or her due share of recognition."