Asian Games Champ Manjit Singh Was Fired From ONGC For Being Old

“They said I couldn’t have done much, and I was fired from the department,” said Asiad gold medallist Manjit.

Updated
Olympic Sports
2 min read

Video Editor: Vishal Kumar
Cameraperson: Abhishek Ranjan

Once fired from his job for being ‘old’ in 2014, Manjit Singh’s perseverance and hard work, backed by his family, helped him overcome his setback and make the country proud.

At this year’s Asian Games, the 29-year-old pipped national record holder in the event, Jinson Johnson, to bag a gold in the 800m men’s event.

“I had a job at ONGC. But in 2014, they fired me for being overage. They said I couldn’t do much, and I was fired from the department,” said Manjit.

In 2010, I had participated in the Commonwealth Games. After that I wanted to do well in the Olympics but couldn’t, due to an injury and also because of the job. 2014 and 2015 was a tough time for me. I contemplated whether I should compete or not. But I didn’t give up, and kept at it.
Manjit Singh

Manjit’s journey in athletics, that started 18 years ago, has seen many ups and downs.

“There have been good times, like participating in the 2010 Commonwealth Games,” he recollects. The 29-year-old from Jind district of Haryana had then failed to qualify for the final round of his event. He finished fourth in the 2013 Asian Championships in Pune, and won silver medals in the 2014 and 2015 Federation Cup. However, he was ignored for the CWG and Asian Games, back in 2014.

If it wasn’t for his family’s support, Manjit would have quit athletics.

“My parents and family were my support system. I didn’t have a job. I come from a middle class family. My father is a farmer, and runs a milk business. But they supported me completely. They told me I could do it, and that they were with me.”

In his gold medal-winning run, Manjit recorded his personal best time of 1 minute and 46.15 seconds to win his maiden major international medal.

“I didn’t go thinking I want to win gold. And neither did I run thinking I want to win it. My target was to give my 100 percent, and knew that if I gave my best, the outcome would be good,” said Manjit.

So what’s next for the Asian Games gold medallist?

“There’s the World Championships next year. And there’s the 2020 Olympic Games where I hope to do well for the country,” he said.

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