With the Pune Army Sports Institute being selected for the 2020 Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar, the Indian Army has time and again displayed its brilliance in sports on a level similar to its feats on the borders.
Crux of the Matter
The Army Sports Institute (ASI) based in Pune has been selected for the Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar for 2020 under the category of “Identification and Nurturing of Budding and Young Talent”. President Ram Nath Kovind will bestow the award on August 29 in a virtual event amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Army Sports Institute
The Army Sports Institute (ASI) Pune was established on 1 July, 2001, and trains sportsmen from the Army and young athletes in ‘Boys Sports Companies’ (between age of 8 to 14 years). The training is done by “internationally renowned foreign & Indian coaches and qualified physical trainers” and aided by a ‘team of specialists’ in sports medicine, nutrition, sports psychology, sports physiology etc. The institute currently trains in 7 fields – boxing, wrestling, athletics, archery, diving, fencing, and weightlifting.
The ASI was established under the “Mission Olympics Programme”. The other such 4 institutes are:
- Army Rowing Node (Pune)
- Army Marksmanship Unit (Mhow)
- Army Equestrian Node (Meerut)
- Army Yachting Node (Mumbai)
- The institute has facilitated the participation of 20 sportspersons in the Olympics to date.
- 12 sportsperson from the institute have already qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.
- Athletes from the institute have brought 19 medals in Asian Games, 18 medals in Commonwealth Games, and 6 Youth Olympic Medals.
- 450 international and 1,118 national medals have been won by the ASI athletes in the last 3 years.
- 125 medals across 5 sports have been won by the ASI sportspersons in the last 3 Khelo India editions.
Famous Army Sportspersons
Subedar Paan Singh Tomar
- 7-time National steeplechase race champion.
- Represented India at the 1958 Asian Games.
- Completed 3,000 metres run in 2,000 strides as compared to the average 2,500.
- Turned rebel after local feuds.
- Movie by the name Paan Singh Tomar released in 2012 starring Irrfan Khan as Tomar himself.
Naib Subedar Shivnath Singh
- Won gold medal in 5000m race in 1974 Teheran Asian Games, ans also set a new Asian record of 14 minutes and 20.5 seconds.
- Won silver medals in both 5,000m and 10,000m races in both 1973 and 1975 Asian Championships.
- Still holds the national record for marathon of 2:12:00 hrs set in 1978.
Naib Subedar Milkha Singh
- First Indian male to reach the final of any Olympic athletics event.
- Won gold medals in both 200m and 400m races in 1958 Asian Games.
- Won gold medals in both 400m and 4×400 relay races in 1962 Asian Games.
- Awarded Padma Shri for his achievements.
- Bhaag Milkha Bhaag film was made on him in 2013, starring Farhan Akhtar in the lead role.
Honorary Captain Sriram Singh Shekhawat
- Won gold medals in 800m racing in both 1974 and 1978 Asian Games.
- Awarded Padma Shri for his achievements.
Honorary Captain Padam Bahadur Mall
- First Indian boxer to win gold medal in Asian Games. Won the medal in 1962 Asian Games.
- Rejoined his unit in Srinagar which was followed by the India-China war 1962.
- Captain Mall also fought in the 1965 and 1971 wars against Pakistan.
Honorary Captain Hawa Singh
- Won Heavyweight National Championship consecutively from 1961 to 1972.
- Won gold medals in the heavyweight division of both 1966 and 1970 Asian Games.
Colonel Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
- Won India’s first individual silver medal in Olympics.
- Won silver in the 2004 Olympics in the double-trap shooting event.
- Won gold medals in both individual and pairs double-trap events at the 2002 Commonwealth Games.
- Won gold medal in individual double trap and silver medal in pairs double trap at the 2006 Commonwealth Games.
- Received Padma Shri for his achievements.
- 1999 Kargil war veteran.
- Served as the Sports Minister between 2017 and 2019.
Subedar Tarundeep Rai
- Became the first Indian to win a silver medal in individual men’s archery by winning at the 2010 Asian Games.
- Subedar Rai also won silver medal with the Indian team in the 2005 World Archery Championship.
Major Dhyan Chand
- Won Indian hockey team 3 consecutive gold medals in 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympics.
- Reportedly scored 570 goals in 185 international matches.
- Germany leader Adolf Hitler reportedly offered high army position to Dhyan Chand after India beat Germany 8-1 in 1936 Olympics.
Reported offer due to his extraordinary performance in the games.
Dhyan Chand rejected the offer.
- Joginder Singh Bedi is a Paralympian with the maximum number of medals by an individual at a Paralympics Games so far. Bedi won the SIlver medal at the Men’s Shot Put, bronze at the Discus and Javelin throw during the 1984 Games.
- The Indian Territorial Army conferred the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel to MS Dhoni on 1 November 2011. He is the second Indian cricketer after Kapil Dev to receive this honour.
- The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports gives the annual National Sports awards in various categories, including the Arjuna Award and Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna awards. The Ministry was set up as the Department of Sports at the time of organisation of 1982 Asian Games New Delhi.
- Times Now – Army Sports Institute, Pune awarded with Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar 2020
- Sportskeeda – The Indian armed forces and their heroics in the sporting arena
- The Print – Soldier, legend, inspiration: Remembering India’s hockey ‘Wizard’ Major Dhyan Chand
- Indian Army – Sports and Achievements
- The Indian Express – Padam Bahadur Mall: The man who won the bout, and the wars
- Indiatimes – Who was this man?
- Olympic Channel – SOLDIER, OLYMPIAN, POLITICIAN: 9 LESSER KNOWN FACTS ABOUT RAJYAVARDHAN SINGH RATHORE