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The Champion - Tara Singh visits Gravesend Gurdwara

The weightlifter Tara Singh visited Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara on 29th August 2022 and shared with us many inspiring stories, including the glorious moment of winning the Bronze Medal during 1982 Asian Games - New Delhi. #AsianGames #1982Champion #TaraSingh #ArjunaAward #Winner

Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara management team, GNG Sports Club, GNG Kabaddi Club and members of the sangat were present when Tara Singh was presented with a trophy in recognition of his achievement and contribution to the sport.

Tara Singh (wearing a black shirt) receives a trophy as a token of gratitude from GNG Sports Kabaddi Club President Kalwinder Singh.

Who is Tara Singh?

Tara Singh from Punjab, India is a mens heavyweight champion weight lifter. Prior to this meeting I had never met or heard of Tara Singh, however on meeting him and shaking his hands I could immediately tell, from his solid handshake that he would have been a power house in his youth. This was the powerful weight lifter that was awarded the Arjuna Award in 1982 by the Government of India.

The evenings master of ceremonies, Brian Sangha read through two pages of achievements on Tara Singh. It was clear that this was no ordinary sports person. Tara Singh (born 1 June 1955) was the Punjabi lion who was the first Indian to cross 200 kg in the clean and jerk event winning the bronze medal at the 1982 Asian Games.

Championship successes include;

Commonwealth Championship

Gold medal – first place 1985 Cardiff, Wales

Silver medal – second place 1981 Auckland, New Zealand

Gold medal – first place 1981 Auckland, New Zealand

Mini Commonwealth Games

Gold medal – first place 1981 Brisbane, Australia

New Zealand Summer Games

Bronze medal – third place 1981 Auckland, New Zealand

Asian Championship

Bronze medal – third place 1982 New Delhi, India

Silver medal – second place 1981 Nagoya, Japan

World Railway Games

Bronze medal – third place 1984 Sofia, Bulgaria

Pakistan National Games

Silver medal – second place 1984 Islambabad, Pakistan

Gold medal – first place 1985 samoa

Tara Singh still has the same passion and excitement about the sport as he explains his journey and achievements. I found Tara Singh to be very humble man who had a story worthy of a film in the same way that Milkha Singh, 'the Flying Sikh' who dominated Indian athletics in the 1950/60s had. A story of highs and lows, including personal tragedies in his life. I learned that his son had played Kabaddi many years ago for Gravesend Kabaddi Club as well as Slough, however unfortunately passed away of natural causes.

Tara Singh presented with the Arjuna Award in 1982 by the Government of India;

Sports and Sikhism

Gurdwara across the world have a strong affiliation to sport. Much of this relates back to the teachings from our Guru's. Guru Angad Dev ji, took a keen interest in sports and physical training. He had a concept that one has to be physically and mentally strong to achieve anything in this world or on spiritual grounds. He said, "One has to be powerful outside to remain powerful inside because a strong soul abides in a strong body." He encouraged people to take part in physical activity after morning prayers.

Later, the sixth Guru Hargobind Sahib ji introduced two swords, 'Miri - Piri'. Miri means Political or Wordly power and Miri means spiritual power. The concept of Guru ji was to make the Sikh panth strong and fearless. A person should be a devotee of the Almighty as well as a warrior, too. A Sikh should be strong inward as well as strong outward. To fight for his rights. To serve humanity. To look after weak people. To live a righteous life according to Gurmat. For all this, you need to be physically and mentally fit. Where 'Miri' makes us fearless outwardly, 'Piri' makes us fearless inwardly.

Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara Gravesend has a long history of supporting health & well being and has a number of sports activities offered by GNG Sports club. This includes many sports, inclusive of football, kabaddi, wrestling, karate, boxing, mixed martial arts, gatka, fencing, basketball, netball etc..

Here are some photographs from the evening presentation with the champion Tara Singh;

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