In an interview with The Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta on NDTV 24X7 Walk the Talk, track and field legend Gurbachan Singh Randhawa talks about his high point in Tokyo ‘64, owning four national records simultaneously, his contemporary Milkha Singh and the dream team of the sixties.
Hello and welcome to Walk the Talk. I am Shekhar Gupta at the synthetic track at Delhi’s Nehru Stadium. I am most inappropriately dressed to be on the track. But my guest today is not appropriately dressed for the track either. He is somebody who has set the track ablaze in his time. Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, one of the greatest athletes in India’s history, a contemporary of Milkha Singh, and part of the same dream team.
Yes, we were in the same team in the 1960 and 1962 Asian Games, 1964 Olympics. We have attended many coaching camps together, we trained together.
Many old-timers and athletics enthusiasts rank you even now as the greatest Indian athlete ever because you held the 110m hurdles record for a long time and you finished fifth at Tokyo Olympics...
In 1962, Milkha Singh held two national records, while I held four. He won the gold medal in the Asian Games and I was declared the best Asian athlete.
Because you won the decathlon, then?
Yes. I was also the first sportsman to win the Arjuna Award, which is why people may consider me to be the greatest. My performance at the national level can be compared with Milkha’s. However, at the Olympics, his performance was much better than mine.
He finished fourth, you finished fifth…
The position is not important. Milkha Singh claimed he had bettered the world record, but he has never done so. He had bettered the Olympic record. It was a wonderful race. I was the baby of the Indian contingent in the Rome Olympics (1960).
You were 20 then…
I was 21.
Will you describe what you saw?
At that time, I was busy in the decathlon. I could not complete it at that time because after the Olympic trials, we did not have any facilities to train. We were sent home after the