Olympian Ajitpal Singh

Ajitpal Singh

Ajit Pal Singh was rightly acclaimed as one of the best center forward in the world during his time. He led India to a sensational victory in the third world cup hockey tournament at Kuala Lumpur in 1975.

Born on April 1, 1947, Ajit Pal Singh learnt the alphabet of hockey of hockey in his native Sansarpur village, the bastion of hockey during the time. A number of players from this village had already represented India in Olympics and a number of international tournaments.

He first played in an international hockey tournament at Bombay in 1960. Later he represented India in Japan in 1966. Having finished his studies at the school, Ajit Pal Singh joined LayallPur Khalsa College, Jalandhar, which had honor of number of star hockey player. Ajitpal Singh Got the first real break when, as a student of B.A. part I ,he was selected in Indian Team to play in Pre- Olympic Hockey Tournament in 1967 at London. There after he did not look back and came permanently on the Roles of Indian Hockey team .Next year Ajit Pal Singh gave a dazzling show of Stick work in the Mexico Olympic Games. He showed what a fine sense of distribution he had and how he helped make the half line function smoothly. Ajit Pal Singh showed such dexterity and skill at his position that he was included in the world Hockey teams of 1971,72 and 73. He next represented India in 1974 in Asian games at Teheran. Consequently he was included in the Asian All-Star Hockey XI the same year.

But he reached the pinnacle of glory in 1975 when he led India to the third world cup hockey victory in Kuala Lumpur in the most trying circumstances. The Punjab Government had borne all expenses prior to the participation by organizing a camp for the team in Punjab. The Whole country was in a great jubilation. For the first time the Hockey seemed to get priority over the cricket in the country.

Ajit Pal Singh next toured New Zealand. But 1976 in the Montreal Olympic Games India Suffered the most humiliating defeat under Ajit Pal Singh when they finished Seventh. No One seemed ready for an answer what went wrong for, India had fielded practically the same team which had won the Third World Cup Hockey tournament title.

Fed up with Indian Show at the Montreal and in the view of the mounting criticism in the country, Ajitpal Singh retired from the International Hockey scene. However, he continued playing for the BSF where he was employed as Assistant Commandant. He was also not happy the way the Indian Hockey Federation managed its affairs treating the players shabbily off and on the field.

Four years later Ajit pal Singh came out of retirement to play in champion Trophy Tournament at Karachi in 1980. Ajit pal Singh awarded the Arjuna Award in 1972.