Subedar Major Fateh Singh, the 51-year-old Armyman who died fighting terrorists in the attack on the Pathankot airbase Saturday, was an international shooter who had won medals in the 1990s.
Long before the likes of Anjali Bhagwat and Suma Shirur stepped into the limelight, Fateh Singh won medals in the big bore events in the mid-1990s and was a senior member of the Indian shooting team.
He retired as a Subedar Major from the Dogra regiment in 2009 and joined the Defence Service Corps and was initially posted at the Army War College in Mhow. He was posted to Pathankot two years ago.
Singh won gold in the Big Bore Rifle Three Position event and silver medal in the Big Rifle Prone Position in the Commonwealth Shooting Championship at the Army shooting ranges in New Delhi in 1995.
“Fateh Singh was one of the senior shooters when I started shooting in the 1990s. And he won medals at the international level regularly. 1995 was my debut year in shooting when he won the medals in the Commonwealth Shooting Championship in Delhi and I remember meeting him at that time. It’s a sad moment for his family and all shooters. We will remember him as a helping and respectable senior,” Suma Shirur, the 2002 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games medalist shooter, told The Indian Express.
Like most shooters in the India team, Fateh Singh practised at the Army shooting ranges in Mhow. He would also train at the ranges in Delhi.
“We met him during the Delhi championships and he would spend time with the junior as well other members of the Indian shooting team. Although he took part in the big bore events, he would keenly follow other events like the 10m Air Rifle and would often seek inputs from other shooters. The championship was organised at the Army ranges instead of the Karni Singh ranges and he was a keen observer and a shooter who remained calm. It’s a great loss for the nation as well as the shooting fraternity,” Deep Bhatia, secretary general of the Haryana Shooting Association, said.
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National Rifle Association of India president Raninder Singh also offered his condolences: “May the Almighty grant peace to the great soldier of our country. The shooting fraternity prays for the departed soul and for strength to the family of the great soldier so that they can bear this irreparable loss. He was a thorough gentleman and a great athlete. He worked as an active member of the Indian shooting team. It is a very sad day for us. He sacrificed his life for the country. We condole his death.”
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