Shivpal Singh is a hope for Asian Games 2018 and Tokyo Olympics 2020. Know his interesting story.
Shivpal Singh Story – Highlights
- Playing his first major tournament, Shivpal Singh is all set to bring back India, a gold medal home.
- This 23-year-old from Varanasi sprang a surprise with a throw of 82.28m at the 58th National Inter-State Athletics Championships. The federation had set 81m as the qualifying mark for the Asian Games.
- He was left out of the Asian Games preparation tour that went to Finland.
- The youngster showed exponential improvement at the qualifying event and is all set to make his mark at the Asiads.
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The Asian Games 2018 are here and India has a lot to cheer! Upcoming as well as seasoned athletes are working hard to bring top laurels for their beloved country. In recent years, some new faces have taken centre stage at the sporting arena. This is definitely a welcome trend. Of course, a career in sports is still not given the importance it deserves in our country. However, it seems the winds of change have started blowing.
Youngsters from all over the country are pursuing various sports. As a result, new arenas are opening for future generations as well. The Indian sports fans are surely happy with these developments. These champions in the making need more exposure and support. Their story needs to be told and heard.
We, at KreedOn, present to you some of the most promising athletes in India and their glorious journeys. In the last few years, javelin throw has seen a lot of growth. Neeraj Chopra is the poster boy of javelin throw in India, but another name that stands out is that of Shivpal Singh.
Shivpal Singh – A Star in the Making
Shivpal Singh is carrying the weight of an entire nation’s hopes when he represents India at the javelin throw event in the Asiads 2018 in Jakarta, Indonesia. The journey from national championships to the big stage has been quite eventful for the young man from Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
He was inspired to play javelin by his uncle, who was a national level champion himself. The exposure from an impressionable age made a lot of difference. His uncle took him to Delhi and started training him since a very young age.
It is no surprise that Shivpal gives him complete credit for his sporting achievements.
Date of Birth: 6 July 1995
Place of Birth: Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India
Event: Javelin Throw
Asia Rank: 4
The Journey to get India gold medal
Standing on the cusp of an opportunity to create history, Shivpal is positive and excited. The Asian Games are his first major competition, and the journey till here, has been filled with ups and downs. The joy of winning multiple national tournaments was marred by missing out at the Rio Olympics qualifiers. However, a true sportsman never gives up and stands up every time he falls. Similarly, Shivpal Singh overcame disappointments, injuries, and all other setbacks to qualify for the Asian Games, and set a date with destiny.
It was an impressive throw of 82.28m at the 58th National Inter-State Athletics Championships that secured his place in the javelin throw team for the Asiads. The qualifying mark for the games was 81m and he easily managed to go past it. He joins the star javelin thrower, Neeraj Chopra, who was exempted from the trials, in the Indian javelin team.
This feat enabled Shivpal to break the old meet record of 79.67m set by Jagdish Bishnoi in 2000. He clinched the gold at the meet, whereas previous national record holder, Rajinder Singh had to settle for a silver medal with a mark of 80.63m.
Achieving a personal best record at the cusp of Asiads must have given a big boost to the javelin thrower. It also surprised everyone at the Indira Gandhi Athletics stadium.
Shivpal must be proud of the exponential improvement in his performance. His previous personal best was 79.77m, which he had achieved in 2016.
Shivpal and Rajinder had broken the javelin throw record previously on the same day!
It was during the 56th National Open athletics championships held in 2016 in Lucknow. Both the javelin throwers broke Neeraj Chopra’s record of 77.67m. Rajinder did so with a throw of 79.04m, whereas Shivpal went past it with a 77.72m throw.
In 2016, Shivpal Singh also won the men’s javelin throw event at the Budapest Open athletics in Hungary.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t qualify for the Rio Olympics. The qualifying mark for the Olympics was 83m. Though Shivpal reached his then personal best of 79.77 in Patiala, he could only reach 76.74m at the qualifiers.
Currently, Shivpal Singh is being coached by Kashinath Naik at the National Sports Institute. His technique has shown tremendous improvement since 2016. Naik believes that Shivpal’s speed and the last attack before releasing the spear are his strengths. These will help them take his performance to the next level and cross the mark.
Dealing with Difficulties
Indian athletes get to compete in just 2-3 major sporting events in a year, while their European counterparts get more opportunities. Shivpal rues the lack of chances to learn and grow his game. Participating in various stages gives athletes a chance to understand the strengths as well as flaws in their techniques. It also helps them gain more exposure and support. Also, having more meets ensures that the athletes get another opportunity, even if they miss out on one because of an injury.
In the last few years, Shivpal has done well nationally, but not achieved much success at the international stage. He was also ignored by Uwe Hohn, India’s javelin throw coach and world record holder, for the Finland tour.
Yet, Shivpal is thankful to the Sports Federation for all the help and support is provided.
“I could not have been here alone. A lot of people helped me achieve my dream. The Federation helped a lot as well, Dr Lalit Bhanot in particular. He helped me through a tough time when I had torn my meniscus. It took a toll on me mentally as well. However, Bhanot Sir personally called me and helped me treat my injury. He also helped me when my name was cut from the Open Nationals. I asked for help, and he helped me.”
“My coaches and my family have always helped me as well. It is because of them, that I have been able to perform as well as I have,” says a thankful Singh in an interview with The Bridge.
Instead of holding past grudges, Shivpal is looking at his bright future. His positive attitude is surely very uplifting.
Injuries are an integral part of a sportsperson’s life. Many athletes have had to face the biggest disappointments of their careers because of them. However, Shivpal has an interesting take on this. Excerpts from the same interview, “We often accept our fate over the tiniest of things. This is something that we shouldn’t do.”
“Injuries, for example, are a constant part of a sportsperson’s life,” Singh continues, “A lot of people give up over injuries. Yes, you should take ample rest in case of an injury but you should not give up.”
“You can’t take them for granted as well. Injuries need to be kept a close eye on. What we usually do is ignore the injury completely, if the pain is bearable. This is very dangerous. An athlete should be smart enough to know when to stop. In order to not overexert themselves.”
“We grow wiser as we gain experience. But it is important to keep this in mind,” Singh says.
This spirit of not giving up is what makes Shivpal stand out from the rest. It is so refreshing to see such a wise take on life, that too from a 23-year-old! At an age, where most youngsters are not sure about their destinies, Shivpal has only one dream and is completely focused on it.
Confidence is the Key!
Like most Indian athletes, Shivpal has grappled with issues like lack of opportunities, insufficient support, and no recognition. It has not been an easy journey. However, the young lad has put all that behind and is completely focusing on the Asian Games in Jakarta. He is hopeful that the javelin throw team will come back with not just one, but two medals. Neeraj Chopra is the other medal prospect for India.
He believes his fitness levels are at their peak, and his performance is steadily improving. In fact, he managed to hurl past 85m in some practice sessions. If Shivpal continues with such extraordinary brilliance, the gold will no doubt, come home!
Humility as well as confidence, Shivpal Singh has the perfect blend of both the qualities of a true champion. From being ignored by the coach to surprising everyone at the qualifiers, his journey has been quite exciting. The Asian Games are second to only the Olympics when it comes to grandeur. A medal, will not only give Shivpal the recognition he deserves, but also make him a medal prospect for the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
We wish him all the very best for the Asian Games 2018, and hope that the Indian javelin team brings back those two medals as promised!
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