A Gem From The Land Of Punjab, Here’s How Ludhiana’s Jagjit Singh Became The Very Renowned Arjuna Award Winner
Jagjit Singh, the celebrated sportsperson, is the first Punjabi rower to receive an Arjuna award in rowing. His remarkable journey has inspired thousands of sports persons around the country but what strikes the most about his personality is his simplicity and humility with which he conducts himself. Singh talks about his noteworthy expedition from the small village of Jallah in Ludhiana to become an internationally renowned rower and the Arjuna Award Winner in an interesting conversation with TLJ team.
Jagjit Singh’s First Tryst With Rowing
With a knack for sports, Jagjit first became a rower after he joined Army at the tender age of 17. “I was inspired to see the body-built of Col. P.K. Oberoi, who was a rower himself and he immensely inspired me to take to rowing. I saw it as an opportunity to build a strong body,” says Singh. His love for rowing became intense when in one of the National championships in Madras, he injured his foot. Jagjit recollects,
“I was hiding from my coach so that he doesn’t oust me from the team. Once I competed for my first race and won it, it was then that he saw it. It made me realize my passion and love for the sport.”
The Rise As An International Star
Jagjit Singh’s career got a kick start when he won his first Asian games medal and there was never looking back! His journey is that of a self-driven and a self-motivated individual who aspired to dream big and worked hard to achieve those dreams, as a result, became a deserved Arjuna award winner .
“There are people who inspire you and people who pull you down. You have to choose whom do you want to see succeeding out of the two.” – Jagjit Singh
Setting the record in memorable 1994 Asian Games which no Indian has been able to break till now, he has proven his mettle in the field (or perhaps in water!). He has been recognized for his outstanding achievement both in the country and internationally. However, many find it strange that the state (Punjab) government has not yet honored him with Maharana Ranjit Singh Award! “I would like to request Punjab government to award all Arjuna awardees of Punjab with Maharana Ranjit Singh Award,” he appeals. After serving in the Indian Army for a considerable amount of time, he then joined Punjab Police where he currently serves as a senior official.
Because Being An Arjuna Award Winner Is Not Just A Cakewalk
In a cricket frenzy nation like India, it is not easy to excel in a sport like rowing. There are so many opportunities opening up for the youth today but back in Jagjit Singh’s time, it was not such an easy cake walk. He says, “There were times when funds were not readily available and I had to manage my own expenses. But I believe that once you set your eye on a goal and work hard to achieve it, nobody can stop you from being a champion.” He recalls an intriguing incident where someone attempted to destroy his passport just a day before he had to leave for Asian Games held at Japan in 1999. “The team left for Japan and I could not. But this did not deter me. With the help of some kind officials, I applied for a new visa and reached the venue just four hours before the game,” Jagjit narrates. This determination helped him to become an eminent sportsperson and eventually becoming an Arjuna Award Winner in 1999 as well as the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007.
The Family Factor Helped Jagjit A Lot
Close to his parents, jagjit makes sure he spares time to sit and talk with them every day.
“I still ask them before starting any new venture.” – Jagjit Singh
Jagjit has three children- two daughters and one son- all of who are National Champions in rowing. “I am completely a family man. I go to my work and come back home to my family,” he admits happily. Keen on compiling the savoured moments of his journey and his family, he is thoughtfully collecting all the memories in a photobook currently.
Here’s How Jagjit Made The Difference
“In 33 years of my work life, I have never had an afternoon siesta. My day starts at 4:30 am and ends at 10 pm. There is no shortcut to hard work and I make optimum use of my day. This is my fitness mantra,” he declares. Jagjit further elaborated how the sportsmen undergo tough and rigorous exercises to build stamina and how it helps in staying fit and healthy throughout life. Such is the capacity of a sportsperson, that while a normal person inhales 3 litres (if we consider that as the measure) of Oxygen, a sportsperson has the capacity of inhaling 6 litres! Jagjit Singh’s home is air-conditioned but he chooses not to sleep in an air-conditioned room. He believes that it leaves you clumsy and lumbering in the bed in morning. “Whatever I have achieved today, is due to my hard work. I have never accepted or encouraged bribery in any form. I believe in embracing positive and constructive outlook towards life and guide my children to do the same,” the Arjuna award winner adds.
Jagjit Singh Is The Real Inspiration For The Young Generation
“Hard work always pays off! There is no shortcut to it,” Jagjit advices children.
He explains the importance of sports in an era obsessed with mobiles and laptops where all the games are played digitally. He adds that sportsmanship not only helps you in maintaining a physically healthy body but also a mentally strong mind. He rationalizes, “In the sports-field, you win and lose daily. You learn the spirit of accepting things in real life through this process and become a decision-maker of your life. You will rarely see a sportsman suffering from depression or anxiousness. That is why, I believe it is necessary for everyone to indulge themselves in sports and adopt a healthy lifestyle.”
The Very Effective HEALTH TIPS BY the Arjuna Award Winner Jagjit Singh
- Stay Positive!
- Have proper diet
- Early to bed, early to rise!
- Work-out every day for at least 20 minutes.