The man-mountain among Gurdaspur’s rivers
Asian Glory Will Be The First Step In Avtar Singh’s Road to Olympics 2020.
Flanked by the rivers Beas and Ravi, Gurdaspur is the northernmost city in the state of Punjab. Apart from its geographic significance, Gurdaspur is now famous for another reason, it houses India’s Olympic medal prospect, Avtar Singh. Standing at 6 foot 4 inches, Avtar has a natural height advantage for Judo and has since taken the national stage by storm. “I realised that no one in my family was involved in sports and so I was eager to be the first one. Since Judo was a very popular sport in my city I was drawn towards it,” said the 25-year-old.
Avtar credits a lot of his success to the support he has received from his family. Be it words of comfort at a tough time or sacrificing their life savings for him to travel to the Olympic Qualifiers, the Judoka’s parents have always encouraged him to pursue the sport as they are sure he will make his country proud.
2016 has been eventful for Avtar Singh, as he not only won the Gold at the South Asian games in Guwahati but also qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio following his performances in the Asian Judo Championships, the same year. “A lot of credit has to go to my coach Yashpal Solanki. He not only looks after how I train and what I eat but is also like an older brother who I can talk to about anything.”
Despite being knocked out in the first round, Avtar states that his journey in Rio 2016 was indeed a learning experience. “I have realised that our country still has a lot of catching up to do, we prepare for the Olympics only a year ahead of the competition, whereas, in some of the more successful countries, preparations begin as soon as the previous competition ends,” he said.
Looking to take part in the Asian Championships that will be held in Hong Kong later this year, the Judoka’s first order of business would be to perform well and pick up a medal in the competition. After which he will look for World Championship and Asian Games glory in the following year.
“Kids these days are looking at sports in a more serious way as there is a lot of support from various organisations. I would urge them to always work hard and dream big as that is what will drive them to success. JSW Sports has always helped and supported me throughout my journey as an athlete. As long as there are wonderful organisations like these supporting our athletes, I can be sure that the future of Indian sports is in good hands,” he remarked.