Parents behind track and field star Nauraj’s meteoric rise

The Malay Mail Malaysia | 13 May 2016 | Asia Samachar |
Amarjit and Manjit proudly showcase Nauraj’s medals. — Picture by Roslan Khamis /The Malay Mail
Amarjit and Manjit proudly showcase Nauraj’s medals. — Picture by Roslan Khamis /The Malay Mail

A parent’s love knows no bounds and Nauraj Singh Randhawa wouldn’t be going to the Olympics if it wasn’t for parents Amarjit Singh, 56 and Manjit Kaur, 48.

Nauraj’s 2.29m clearance en route to a gold medal at the Singapore Open last month, broke Lee Hup Wei’s eight-year national record of 2.27m and met the qualifying mark for the Olympics.

The height could have been good enough for a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics.
Nauraj is the first Malaysian track and field star to qualify on merit for the Games since walker Yuan Yufang, pole vaulter Roslinda Samsu and Hup Wei in 2008.

But it could have been so different without his parents.

“It was in mid-2011 when Nauraj suffered a right ankle injury in training and needed to replace the ligaments. My son and the surgeon at KPJ Damansara Hospital wondered if he could come back,” recalled Amarjit.

“He was 19 and his high jumping career was just beginning to show promise.

“We told him not to worry and to explore other options. But if he wanted to fight and resume his athletics career, we would be there for him.”

So began the long rehabilitation process which saw Amarjit and Manjit temporarily move into their son-in-law’s house in Rawang to look after Nauraj.

Their loving care paid dividends as not only did Nauraj make a complete recovery, but less than two years later he was a Sea Games champion.

A feat he repeated a year ago and he was also an Asian Games finalist in 2014.

Amarjit said he and his wife travelled the length and breadth of the country to be at almost every competition Nauraj competed in since he took up high jumping as a nine-year-old.

“I’m his No 1 supporter. He knows that and when he cleared 2.29m at the Singapore Open, he ran towards me to give me the biggest hug of his life. It was a gesture only a father and son could appreciate,” said Amarjit, who hopes to be in Rio to cheer his son.

“I’m not his coach but my presence will calm him down. I want to be in Rio to show him I care. I know he will appreciate my presence,” said Amarjit.

Unfortunately, Amarjit is unemployed, having lost his job with a property developer eight months ago when the company was bought over.

“Money is a bit tight but Nauraj is fine. He has some sponsorship money coming in and the National Sports Council takes good care of him. His tertiary education at University Malaya where he is pursuing a sports science degree is also being looked after.

“I can’t ask him to pay my ticket to Rio. I will look for an alternative. I want to be there for him. Taking part in the Olympics is a dream come true for Nauraj and if I can help him achieve bigger things in his athletics career, I will,” said Amarjit.

The article was published at The Malay Mail, 12 May 2016. See here.



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