New Delhi, June 13 () Former track and field athlete Gurbachan Singh Randhawa on Tuesday resigned as the chairman of the Athletics Federation of India (AFI) selection committee after holding the post for 18 years.
In a letter to AFI president Adille Sumariwalla, Randhawa, who was the first track and field athlete to receive the Arjuna Award in 1961, said that due to the challenges posed by advancing age, it has become difficult for him to dedicate his full commitment to the job.
“I have resigned as the Chairman of the Athletics Federation of India Selection Committee after serving in the position for 18 years. My advancing age makes it difficult for me to give the job my 100 per cent. I think it is the right time for me to hand over the reins to a younger person at a time when Indian Athletics is at a very exciting stage of its evolution,” Randhawa said in a statement.
Randhawa was the flag-bearer of the Indian contingent at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, where he bagged 5th position in the 110-metre hurdles event. He won gold in Decathlon at the 1962 Jakarta Asia Games and bestowed with the Best Athlete title.
After a span of 57 years, the Olympic medal that eluded Randhawa in the 1964 Tokyo Games was finally been brought home by Neeraj Chopra coincidently in the city of Tokyo.
“I am truly delighted that we now have two World Athletics Championships medalists in Anju Bobby George and Neeraj Chopra. The cherry on the cake, of course, is Neeraj Chopra’s Olympic Games gold medal in Tokyo2020. After a number of near misses, including that of my friend the late Milkha Singh in 1960 and PT Usha in 1984, Neeraj Chopra made all our dreams come true.
Athletics has been in my veins from my childhood, and I am privileged that I could serve the sport in various capacities. After winning the Asian Games Decathlon gold medal in 1962 and finishing fifth in the 110m Hurdles in the 1964 Olympic Games where I was flag bearer in the opening ceremony,” the statement further read.
The 84-years has been associated with AFI (earlier the Amateur Athletics Federation of India) for 63 years as athlete, coach, Government Observer and Chairman of Selection Committee.
“I look back at the six decades with great pride and humility that I was able to serve track and field sport in our country in various capacities,” Randhawa said.
“I am of the firm opinion that the vision of Dr. Lalit K Bhanot and the office-bearers led by Adille J Sumariwalla, Anju Bobby George and others will keep Indian athletics on the road to greater success. I look forward to watching Indian Athletics cross many more wonderful milestones in the years to come,” he added.