It has been over a month since Asian Games shot put champion Tajinderpal Singh Toor lost his father Karam Singh Toor due to cancer. The senior Toor died after a four-year struggle with the ailment on the night his son returned to India after winning gold at the Asiad.
Over the past few days, Toor has invested his time in getting his father’s gun licence transferred to his name. “He had a gun from the security point of view for the farm and that’s the only thing which he left for me,” Toor says on the sidelines of a function during which he was given a cash award of Rs 1 crore by Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh. In addition to getting the gun licence in his name, Toor has also been running from pillar to post to transfer the 15-acre farm to his name.
It is this farm in Khosa Pando village near Moga, which his father had leased out, when the going got tough to support Toor’s training when he was a budding athlete. The 23-year-old says that he is only slowly recovering from the shock of the untimely death of his father. “At first, I was in shock. I did not even think of such a scenario and could not believe it. Losing the leader of the house is the biggest loss for any family,” Toor says. Before the Commonwealth Games in Australia early this year, the 24-year-old too had missed his training due to his father’s illness. Standing at 6’4”, Toor finished eighth with a throw of 19.42 metres in Australia, where current world leader Tomas Walsh of New Zealand won the gold medal with a throw of 21.41 metres. Toor had made four throws of 20 metre-plus in the last 16 months. At Indonesia, Toor set an Asian Games record with a throw of 20.75 metres.
Lighter means stronger
The athlete believes that he was four to five kilograms heavier than he should have been during the Asian Games. Toor currently lies in the 28th spot in IAAF leading list. Toor closely follows 2016 Rio Olympic champion American Ryan Crouser, who has a best throw of 22.53 this year, and plans to take a leaf out of his book. “I went to Asian games a bit overweight. With less body weight, I could have increased the shoulder’s impact on the shot put and this will be one of my focus area now. Every centimetre is important in our sport and I have been watching the videos of Crouser. The way he releases the shot put and increases his circle speed is something which is almost perfect. And he is physically fit and one of the tallest athletes to try rotational technique. He has lost about 5 kilograms this year and his athleticism means that he has good speed. I need to learn and try that with time,” Toor says.
While the Athletics Federation of India plans to hire foreign coaches for Toor and Arpinder Singh, the athlete has resumed training under his coach MS Dhillon in Jalandhar. “I resumed training this week and the move to get a foreign coach is good. Although, we are trying to make plans to train in a place like Chula Vista in USA or in New Zealand. Neeraj Chopra has been training in Finland and competing and watching the world’s top ranked javelin throwers made him improve too. Shot put too is a very technical sport unlike what people think. I was reading that Crouser likes throwing a light-weight shot put for training. Same goes for me. From here on there cannot be any holidays for me now. My target is an Olympic medal.”