Know Pargat Singh, an ideal role model for the Punjab players
Punjab CM Capt Amarinder also hailed MLA Pargat Singh during felicitation ceremony of Punjab Olympic players recently, saying they have rightly walked on the path shown by Singh.-
The Mithapur hockey belt of Punjab’s Jalandhar, has given
several hockey players to India and one of them is Pargat Singh who is renowned
across the globe for his aggressive attacking style. Not just in hockey, but also
in politics, the world's top defender at the time vigorously defended his
principles and stood firm in his beliefs.
The Punjab Hockey players have given credit of their historic win to MLA Pargat Singh, saying the passion and dedication shown by former hockey captain and how he rose to greatness after his brilliant performances in the then Asian Games and Asia Cup, had always been a motivation for many.
They said from local grounds of Mithapur to playing in Olympics, the journey of Pargat Singh wasn't really easy. He has emerged as an perfect role model and his legacy will be seen as an inspiration for future generations.
Besides, Punjab CM Capt Amarinder also hailed MLA Pargat Singh during felicitation ceremony of Punjab Olympic players held recently. He said Punjab Hockey players have rightly walked on the path shown by Singh.
Meanwhile, after Punjab Congress Crisis, this was first time Capt Amarinder and Pargat Singh shared a stage together. It was also due to Pargat Singh, the cash reward for Punjab Olympic players was increased from Rs 1 crore to Rs 2.51 crore.
Pargat had always been vocal when it comes to Punjab's development and people's welfare. The Former Olympian has not only achieved milestones in the hockey field but in politics too. In his first run as a politician, Pargat had scored an incredible goal, defeating his rival by a huge margin of votes.
Pargat has been a Congress MLA since 2017, but he never hesitated to criticise his own party when people's issues are not resolved. He also made headlines recently when he criticised Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh over failing to act over sacrilege case and not fulfilling pre-poll promises.
Though Pargat is known to have a calm personality, yet he had an antagonistic and aggressive attacking style both in hockey and politics. With CM praising him for being an inspiration to sports players, people in political circles look upto him as a great politician.
Moreover, Padma Shri awardee Pargat Singh is one of a few politicians with the cleanest image. Just like on the hockey field, Pargat has scored milestones in politics by working hard. Recognized for his unapologetic opinions and hard work, here’s everything about the former hockey player and Punjab politician Pargat Singh.
On March 5, 1965, Pargat Singh was born into a farmer family. When he was born his parents, S. Gurdev Singh and Naseeb Kaur had no idea that one day he would become a national hero and entire country would cheer for him.
Pargat was passionate about hockey since his childhood. He used to listen to hockey commentary on the radio. Aside from hockey, Pargat was also interested in academics. His mother remembers his taking his book with him to hockey camp and studying there.
Pargat did his schooling from Government High School, Mithapur (now, Higher secondary school). He attended Sports School in Jalandhar before joining Lyallpur Khalsa College in Jalandhar.
From the Khalsa college itself, his international hockey career took off.
Pargat was a member of the college hockey team and played in various matches- intra university and inter university competitions, etc. Pargat was chosen for the national camp from the combined university matches, and he hasn't looked back since.
Beginning of career in Hockey
He was initially a member of the junior Indian team. Pragat Singh's elevation to the senior hockey team was a logical and equitable step, as he was quickly establishing himself as a skilled player.
In 1983, Pargat Singh played his first international tournament against Hong Kong in Hongkong. When Pargat was selected for this tournament, he was just 18 years old and represented team India internationally.
Since then, Pargat Singh’s skill helped the Indian hockey team win numerous matches, but, it was his performance in the 1985 Champions Trophy match that made him a national hero.
India was placed against Germany, the finest team in the world and was behind 5-1 as German hockey players scored one goal after another. Pargat Singh moved forward and dribbled the ball with only a few minutes left in the game.
Pargat salvaged the Indian team's match by scoring four goals in less than six minutes. Even though the match ended in a draw, Pargat won a spot in the hearts of Indian sports fans after only 6 minutes of action.
Pargat did not rest on his laurels. In the 1986 Champions Trophy in Karachi, Pakistan, he repeated the same performance against Holland. India defeated Holland 3-2 because of his outstanding performance.
Fast forwarding, in 1989, he received the Arjuna award. Pargat was named India's captain for the 1990 World Cup in Lahore the following year. He captained the Asia team that won the inaugural Inter-Continent Tournament in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in the same year.
At the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, India's captain was Pargat Singh. At the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, he captained the national team yet again.
He is the first Indian captain to lead the team in two Olympic tournaments. He holds the record for most matches played (168) as Captain. He has played 313 matches in total.
In 1997, Pargat Singh announced his retirement from international hockey saying he had no regrets.
Pargat participated in three Olympic Games (1988, 1992, and 1996), two World Cups (1986, 1990), and two Asian Games (1986, 1990). He may have added one to each of those totals if it hadn't been for his retirement or self-imposed exile following the Barcelona Olympics.
Dhyan Chand, the greatest hockey player of all time, is Pargat Singh's idol. Surjit Singh Randhawa is also a role model to him.
Pargat attributes his incredible success in hockey to his coaches and role models. He believes that he only made it to such heights because he had incredible coaches who constantly taught him discipline and backed him in every step of the way.
Besides winning numerous medals and championships for India, the legendary hockey player was honoured with Indian National Award, ‘Padma Shri' in 1998 (a year after he retired from International Hockey).
Earlier in 1989, he had received the Indian National Award, 'Arjuna Puraskar'.
Pargat’s career after retiring from Hockey
Even after retirement, Pargat's career in hockey was not over. In 1997, at the age of 33, he was selected to the FIH Athletes Panel. Following year, Pargat was named coach of the Indian Hockey Men's Team in 1998.
Pargat Singh has affiliations in Punjab Police, Rail Coach Factory, Indian Railways. He also worked as a DSP with the Punjab Police.
Pargat Singh at the age of 39 became the youngest Director of Sport in Punjab in 2005.
In 2012, Pargat Singh quit as Sports department director and joined then ruling party in Punjab, Shiromani Akali Dal, running for Jalandhar Cantt seat in the state Assembly elections.
Later, he quit SAD and joined hands with Navjot Singh Sidhu who is now Punjab Congress president, along with some other leaders and announced the launch of a political front, Awaaz-e-Punjab in 2016.
Now, Pargat Singh is Congress MLA from Jalandhar Cantt constituency.