Thursday, July 10, 2008


Vijai Singh Chauhan, born on 21 January 1949, at Jaitpur Kalan village in Bah tehsil in Agra district of Uttar Pradesh, was one of the best- all-round athletes the country has produced after the versatile Gurbachan Singh Randhawa. He completed his higher secondary from Bhind in Madhya Pradesh and then moved to Jiwaji University in Gwalior to graduate in Physical Education, A gold medallist in athletics from the National Institute of Sports in Patiala, Chauhan later did his M.A. from Kanpur University.Starting with the rare combination of the javelin and the 400 metres sprint in his university days, he spread himself to other events- With Cold Medals in the 110 metres hurdles, 400 metres, high Jump, long jump and javelin throw, he was awarded the Best Athlete award in the Inter-University Championships held in Jabalpur in 1968. He captained the athletics teams of Jiwaji University in 1967, Inter-University and Madhya Pradesh in 1968, Bihar in 1973-74 and Uttar Pradesh from 1975 to 1977- He made his mark in the National Open Meet at Bangalore and later created new national records in decathlon in 1970,71 and 72.Having established himself on the national scene he went to the Commonwealth Games at Edinburgh in Scotland in 1970 where an injury forced him to drop out of the contest. He made amends in the Asian Athletic Meet at Kuala Lumpur in 1971 with Gold Medals in the 1.10 metres hurdles and the tiring decathlon. Then came his most fruitful outing, the Munich Olympics of 1972 where he finished a creditable 17th out of 132 participants, totaling 7,378 points, a feat still to be matched by any Indian. Chauhan came close to matching the tally in the Teheran Asian Games in 1974. However with 7,375 points, he collected the Cold and broke the 16-year-old Asian Games record in decathlon. For his all-round effort, he was acclaimed the Best Athlete of Asia for 1972-1974, A year earlier, in the first Asian Track & Field Meet in Manila his impressive show in the decathlon had earned him a Gold and the titje of the "Iron Man of Asia". Early in his career he had won the national award for Physical Efficiency Drive at both junior and senior level and later, after a stint with the M.P. Police, moved on to TELCO in Bihar, a State he represented during the domestic season. He then served as Deputy Director, Joint Director and then Director of sports in the U.P. Government. In between, he served as Principal of Sports college in Lucknow and was the founder Principal of Sports College in Dehre Dun. He has written books on sports and one of his works "Athletics and Games", written in Hindi, has even won a national award. He was honoured with the Arjuna Award in 1972.Source : "India's Highest Sports Awards and Those Who Won Them" by S.S.Gandhi, The Defence Review

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