Asian Games gold medallist Hakam Singh Bhattal passes away
Just a day prior to the nation’s 72nd Independence celebration, Asian Games gold medallist and retired Indian soldier Hakam Singh Bhattal passed away at a private hospital in Sangrur town of Punjab.
The 64-year-old Dhyan Chand Award winner was suffering from a liver and Kidney ailment and was undergoing treatment at the hospital for the last two weeks.
Hakam, who worked as a Havaldar in the 6 Sikh regiment of the Indian army won the gold medal in the 20 km race walk event at the 1978 Asian Games in Bangkok. He also topped the podium at the Asian Track and Field Championship held at Tokyo in 1979.
He retired from the army in 1987 and was appointed as the Athletics coach of the Punjab police in 2003 in the rank of constable. Hakam retired from the post in 2014 after receiving the Dhyan Chand award in 2008.
At the time of his treatment Union Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had provided financial assistance of Rs. 10 lakh while the Punjab Government under Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had sanctioned Rs. 5 lakh for his medical assistance.
“My father took the last breath at 7:30 in the morning at the hospital. We are taking the body to the native village Bhattal in district Barnala to perform the last rites. As his liver and kidneys were damaged he could not be revived,” Hakam’s son was quoted as saying by the Times of India.
Punjab Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi expressed his grief and condolences to the bereaved family.
Condoling the death of the athlete, the Sports Minister said that the entire nation will remember the glorious achievements and pride Singh brought to India as an athlete. He called it as an end of an era and an irreparable loss to the sports fraternity reported PTI.
Meanwhile, Barnala Deputy Commissioner Dharampal Gupta and SSP Harjit Singh confirmed that Hakam’s last rites will be performed with state honours.