Former India captain and National coach Gurbux Singh remembers his 1964 Olympics gold-winning India hockey team captain Charanjit Singh as a very down-to-earth person and a compact player.
“I am very sad to hear of Charanjit Singh’s demise. He was a soft-spoken, down-to-earth and well-educated man. He was a compact centre-half. I started playing under him in 1961 on the New Zealand tour.
“The 1962 international tournament at Ahmedabad, where almost the whole world except Pakistan played, and the Lyon (Olympics qualifying) tournament in 1963 were some of the important events we played together before the 1964 Olympics,” Gurbux told The Hindu on Thursday. We played against each other when he represented Punjab at the National level,” he said.
Gurbux said Charanjit was a team man to the core.
“Charanjit began playing as an inside-right with Balbir Singh. He was very good in our own half, inside the 25-yard line. As a defender, I can say he used to take on the opposition players very solidly.
“In the 1964 (Olympics) team we could shout at anybody for any lapse and no one took it personally. Even captain Charanjit did not mind and took it in his stride as he understood that it was for the team’s good. That was one of the good points of that team, which was studded with well-known players such as four-time Olympian Udham Singh, Prithipal Singh, Charanjit, Shankar Lakshman, Haripal Kaushik and Mohinder Lal,” said Gurbux.