Who is Tajinderpal Singh Toor?
Asian Games gold-medallist, an Asian champion and two-time national champion, Indian shot putter Tajinderpal Singh Toor made his Olympic debut at the Summer Games in Tokyo.
Tajinderpal Singh Toor had qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with an attempt of 21.49m, a new national and Asian record, to better the Olympic qualifying mark of 21.10m by a comfortable distance at the fourth Indian Grand Prix.
The 21.49 throw improved Tajinderpal’s own previous national record of 20.92m and the 12-year Asian record of 21.13m, set by Saudi Arabia’s Sultan Abdulmajeed Al-Hebshi in 2009.
Tajinderpal was unable to qualify for the shot put final at Tokyo 2020, but it was nevertheless a dream come true and highlighted his steady progress over the years.
A family affair
Born and raised in a family of farmers in the Khosa Pando village in Punjab, on November 13, 1994, Tajinderpal Singh Toor’s love for sport came from his father Karam Singh and uncle Gurdev Singh.
Karam Singh was highly regarded in his village and neighbouring areas for the popular tug-of-war competitions but the major influence for a young Tajinderpal came from his uncle Gurdev Singh, an international shot put medallist.
Tajinderpal Singh Toor trained under Gurdev Singh in his formative years and soon the talent shone through - the young shot putter won state-level titles in youth categories and put up consistent performances in inter-state competitions.
Tajinderpal came into the national reckoning when he won the 2016 Federation Cup shot put title and defended it in 2017 with his then-best throw of 20.40m.
The Indian shot putter won his first international title at the Almaty Kosanov Memorial in Kazakhstan in June 2017 and a month later, won silver at the Asian championships with a throw of 19.77m, barely three centimetres behind gold-medallist Ali Samari of Iran.
Tajinderpal Singh Toor then won a third-consecutive Federation Cup title in 2018. It was good preparation for his maiden Commonwealth Games outing in 2018 at Gold Coast, but he could only finish eighth.
Tajinderpal Singh Toor enjoyed the best moment of his young career at the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta, throwing 20.75m - a new national and Asian Games record - to win the gold medal.
On the day he landed back home, Tajinderpal received the sad news that his father had succumbed to cancer. It only pushed him to achieve the ultimate dream - that of participating in the Olympics.
In 2019, Tajinderpal Singh Toor won the Asian championships gold and later in the year, set a new national record of 20.92m to win his first national title.
After the 2020 season was disrupted due to COVID-19, Tajinderpal began 2021 with a 19.49m and 20.09m throw in two Indian Grand Prix competitions, both of which were enough to win the title and threw 20.58m to win the Federation Cup.
His finest throw though came at the fourth Indian Grand Prix, where Tajinderpal Singh Toor threw 21.49m in his first attempt, the first time he had breached the 21m mark in his career.
Tajinderpal will be hoping to bounce back from the Olympic disappointment where he was competing with an injured wrist.