Little-known athletes earned their share of fame when they became first-time medallists at the 2014 Glasgow Commonwealth Games. The Indian Express traces the lives of those who made a mark.
Job done, it’s mom duty for now
Rajwinder Kaur, 29
Medal: Silver (women’s +78 kg)
At Rajwinder Kaur’s residence in the Punjab Armed Police Sports Complex, Jalandhar, there is a lot of activity. Rajwinder’s two-year-old son Gurvansh refuses to eat food and wants his mother to feed him. It’s a rare thing in the household as it is mostly his father Kuljinder Singh, also a judoka, who takes care of him, with Rajwinder busy competing.
A busy schedule means she has to stay away from her son for days on end. “Before I was leaving for Glasgow, he would often say mom, don’t go. But then I had to go as it was after much thought that the Indian federation was sending a judoka in +78 kg category,” says Rajwinder, as she feeds Gurvansh.
A native of Fazilpur village in Taran Taran district of Punjab, Rajwinder first took up athletics in school. But a leg injury forced her to leave athletics and it was then that she switched to judo.
Next up is the Asian Games and as she gets ready to pack her bags for the 20-day national camp in Shillaroo, Himachal Pradesh, talks veer towards the Glasgow Games. In the final, Rajwinder, who weighs around 80kg, had to face a 135kg opponent.
“After I reached the final, my husband called me up seeing that I was facing a 135kg heavy opponent. He kept on saying so many things which I don’t even remember now. But he told me to move swiftly. Unfortunately, I made a mistake and she won on penalty,” says Rajwinder, a head constable with Punjab Police.
When she took up judo, nobody knew about the sport in Fazilpur. “So, when I opted for the sport, I wanted the children at my village to know about it,” says Rajwinder.
Her family moved to Shahjahanpur in Uttar Pradesh some years back and though she is yet to visit her village after the Commonwealth Games, one hopes Fazilpur remembers its famous daughter and the sport that made her famous.
In village of ‘palaces’, Chana is the king
Navjot Chana, 30
Medal: Silver (men’s 60kg)
Dagali Kalan in Hoshiarpur is unlike any other village. The landscape is dotted with palatial buildings, most of them belonging to NRIs. It is here, in this village of palaces, that Navjot Chana lives. Locating his equally big house is not that difficult — the Commonwealth Games silver has given him a sort of celebrity status.