HomeSportsPraveen Kumar Sobti was a gentle giant: Bahadur Singh | More sports...

Praveen Kumar Sobti was a gentle giant: Bahadur Singh | More sports News – Times of India

CHANDIGARH: During the first lockdown in 2020 when Doordarshan re-ran the BR Chopra-epic Mahabharat, former Indian athletics team head coach Bahadur Singh was happy to see his old friend and four-time Asian Games medallist and Commonwealth Games silver medallist Praveen Kumar Sobti back on TV playing the character of “Bheem“.
On Tuesday, when news of Sobti’s death started floating around, Singh was left heartbroken. The former athlete fondly remembered his six feet and five inches tall friend as a ‘soft-hearted giant’, who would step out even in the middle of the night to help his friends.

“In 1977, when the Indian team went to England for an international meet, many athletes refused to travel as the federation would only sponsor the travel. But then Praveen stepped in and assured that he would take care of the food and accommodation there. When we landed in England, a royal treatment awaited us in every city, thanks to Praveen’s friends there,” recalled Singh.
“As the saying goes, don’t judge a book by its cover. He appeared a towering personality but was a soft gentleman inside. He was a happy-go-lucky and positive man full of energy. He was always jolly and full of life. He left us too soon,” Singh, himself a decorated athlete with a shot put gold in the 1978 and 1982 Asian Games, added.

Sobti rose to prominence by becoming the national junior champion in hammer throw in Calcutta in 1963. Two years later, he clinched a bronze medal at the senior Nationals, before going on to register a new national record in hammer throw during the Indo-Russian Athletics meet. The record remained with him for the next 15 years.
“He will remain an inspiration for years to come as he is a great example of an athlete who gave his best on the international platform in the 11 years that he competed at the highest level,” said Athletics Federation of India president Adille J Sumariwalla in his tribute.

A back injury during the Manila Asiad in 1974 stopped him from taking a hat-trick of Asiad golds and he settled for a silver with a throw of 53.64m. He, however, bounced back with a gold at the Asian Championships in 1975. Kumar also competed at the 1978 Asiad before ending his 15-year career with a bronze medal at an international event in Scotland in 1980.
Praveen retired as a deputy commandant from BSF. He is survived by his wife Bina Devi and daughter Nipunika.

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