Arpinder Singh: The triple jumper who ended India’s 48-year-long wait for gold at Asian Games

Arpinder Singh, the 25-year-old athlete from Punjab outdid Uzbekistan's Ruslan Kurbanov, who took the silver medal with a personal best jump of 16.62 meters at the Jakarta Asian Games 2018. In an exclusive interview with Mumbai Live, Singh tells us about his leap of faith

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In 1970, Indian triple jumper Mohinder Singh Gill won the gold medal for India in Triple Jump at the Asian Games with an effort of 16.11m. However, for the next 48 years, there wasn’t a single gold medal for India in the event and it looked like India had lost the golden touch in Triple Jump. However, the 1992-born boy from Harsha Chhina in Punjab was subconsciously getting ready to break India’s 48-year-long wait for a gold medal at Asian Games 2018. 

The athlete in Arpinder Singh would have had never bloomed if his father, an Indian Army officer and Hockey & Kabaddi player, wouldn’t have persisted him on taking up athletics. In a blog, Singh described his journey towards being the first athlete in his family. According to him, at 12, Arpinder was not doing well in school and therefore, his father decided to give him an option to the classroom.

Also Read: Mumbai’s Jay Shah Breaks Triple Jump National Record At National Inter-University Championships

The journey was not a bed of roses for Singh but the athlete in him wanted to prove everyone wrong who had mocked him and told his father, “Your son won’t do well.” In an exclusive interaction with Mumbai Live, Singh said,

“I began as a track runner. I started with 100 metres, then I switched to 200m, then 400m and eventually, I tried Long Jump. But every time I tried, I just failed consistently,” he said.

But the then 14-year-old Arpinder was not ready to back down. And so, his father took him to Amritsar where he met coach DS Bal. The coach saw the potential in Singh and told him that his height was a huge benefit for him to become a triple jumper and that’s when he hopped in towards triple jump.  

I was very young and did not understand what Triple Jump was. So, he taught me the basics and showed me how to hop, how to step and how to land,” he said as he described his baby steps towards the sport.

When asked about how he adjusted to the sport, he said,

“It took me three-four months to get adjusted and accordingly, I learned about the sport. Later, I went to Jalandhar in a Sports School. That’s when I started developing myself as I got really great tracks for practice and also, the coaches were also very nice which helped me to better my skills as a triple jumper.”

And soon his breakthrough came and his hard work paid off as in 2014, he jumped a national senior record of 17.17m and also won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. After that, there was no stopping for Arpinder as he went on to bag the gold for India at the Jakarta Asian Games 2018.

Arpinder Singh won the gold medal in Triple Jump for India in Jakarta Asian Games 2018

 

Talking about the future of the sport in the country, Singh said,

“The future is very bright for Triple Jump. The people have been inclining towards the sport as, after 48 long years, India bagged the gold medal in Triple Jump at Asian Games. And over the years, India has been working really well towards Triple Jump. In 2010, Renjith Maheshwary had won the bronze for Triple Jump, I won a bronze in 2014 and now I earned the gold medal. So, it has been great until now and hopefully, India will keep progressing ahead.”

He further stated in his blog that after he earned the gold medal, his villagers, who were once trying to bring him down, were quite impressed and started saying good things about him to his family. Now, Singh is eyeing a medal at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 and hopes to succeed because after all, a leap of faith is all you need to succeed.

Triple Jump is a track and field event, similar to the long jump. However, in this particular event, the competitor runs down the track and performs a hop, a bound and then a jump into the sand pit. 

A representation of a triple jumper in action

 
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