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Thursday, Sep 19, 2019

Joining the army, becoming an athlete was never the hillman’s priority

Chandan Singh from Nainital wins medal at the 69th Inter-Services Athletics Championship 2019-20, at the Army Sports Institute.

pune Updated: Sep 09, 2019 17:56 IST
Oumar Aga
Oumar Aga
Hindustan Times, Pune
Chandan Singh bags gold and set a new services record of 1 hour 24 minutes and 48.47 seconds in the 20kms race walk event at the 69th Inter-Services Athletics Championship 2019-20, at the Army Sports Institute (ASI), Pune, on Sunday.
Chandan Singh bags gold and set a new services record of 1 hour 24 minutes and 48.47 seconds in the 20kms race walk event at the 69th Inter-Services Athletics Championship 2019-20, at the Army Sports Institute (ASI), Pune, on Sunday.(SHANKAR NARAYAN/HT)
         

Pune Taking up sports was never in the mind of Chandan Singh, son of a farmer family living in the mountainous region of Nainital, Uttarakhand. The kids in this region study, get a job or join their parents in the farm. It is rare to see someone from these hill stations and belonging to a farming field to become an athlete. Indian Army’s Chandan Singh is an exception. He wins medal at the 69th Inter-Services Athletics Championship 2019-20, at the Army Sports Institute (ASI), Pune, on Sunday.

Singh bagged gold and set a new services record of 1 hour 24 minutes and 48.47 seconds in the 20kms race walk event. The previous record of 1 hour 24 minutes and 53 seconds was set by Havaldar Devender Singh in 2017. Sandeep Kumar, from the Army, and Vikash Singh, from the Navy, who also managed to beat the record, finished second and third respectively.

The 32-year-old hails from the mountainous region of Nainital, Uttarakhand. Singh’s parents are farmers and his priority was to complete education, get a job, and start earning for the family or join his parents on the farm. Being a sportsperson was never on his mind.

After completing Class 12, Singh joined the Indian Army at the age of 17 and participated in various sports events. He realised that he possessed the endurance and stamina for 20km and 50km race walk events. He was passionate about the event, being aware that the discipline was not popular, and never thought of switching to other track or field event.

In the 20 km event, Singh has won two international medals. He bagged silver in the Asian race walking championship in Nomi, Japan and later wins bronze at the same tournament, at the same venue, in 2015.

Singh has won 10 national medals, including one gold, six silver, and three bronze medals between 2011 and 2019 in the same event. He has also won two national medals, a silver and a bronze, in the 50 km event.

“I come from a region where exposure to sports is less. My family and I had the same goal - complete academics, get a job, and provide for the family. Joining the army at the age of 17 and taking part in my first international athletics tournament at the age of 18 changed everything. I was posted in Nashik when the Army Sports Institute visited us for under-20 trials. I got selected and never looked back. The more exposure I got from the world of athletics, the more I fell in love with it,” said Chandan Singh.

Personal Best

20km - 1 hour, 23 minutes, 12 seconds.

50km - 4 hours, 04 minutes, 18 seconds.

First Published: Sep 09, 2019 17:54 IST