Indian boxer Kaur Singh, who won the gold medal at the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi, died in Kurukshetra, Haryana on Thursday. He was undergoing treatment in a hospital for multiple health-related issues. He was 74.
Kaur Singh came from a humble background and spent his early days working as a farmer in Punjab’s Malwa region. He joined the Indian Army in 1971 and was introduced to boxing in 1977.
Singh won India’s national championships in the heavyweight division two years later. He remained India’s national champion in the category till 1983.
Apart from his success at the national level, Kaur Singh also dominated the continental stage during his prime. A gold medal at the 1980 Asian championships held in Mumbai (then Bombay) and gold at the 1982 Asian Games in Delhi were his top international achievements.
Kaur Singh had the distinction of being the only Indian boxer to have fought the legendary Muhammad Ali. The two engaged in a four-round exhibition match at Delhi’s National Stadium which was won by Ali, perhaps the greatest showman the boxing world has ever seen.
Kaur Singh’s Asian Games gold medal earned him the Arjuna Award, India’s second-highest National Sports Award in 1982. A year later, Kaur Singh was awarded the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian honour for his contributions to Indian boxing.
In 1988, he was given the Vishisht Seva Medal by the Indian Army for his exemplary service.
Kaur Singh’s inspiring journey as an athlete, along with the stories of legendary hockey player Balbir Singh Sr, India’s track and field icons Milkha Singh and Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, were included in the school curriculum by the state government of Punjab earlier in 2023.
Kaur Singh is survived by two sons and a daughter.
Read More: Indian boxer Kaur Singh, Asian Games champion, dies 2023-04-27 10:59:00