New Delhi, February 8: Athletics Federation of India today condoled the death of the gentle giant Praveen Kumar Sobti at 74 years of age. The two-time Asian Games Discus Throw gold medal and Commonwealth Games Hammer Throw silver medal passed away after a cardiac arrest on Monday evening.
AFI President Adille J. Sumariwalla said Indian Athletics had lost a wonderful ambassador in the death of Praveen Kumar Sobti. “He will remain an inspiration for years to come as he is a great example of an athlete who gave his best on the international platform in the 11 years that he competed at the highest level,” he said.
Hailing from a humble family in Sarhali Kalan village, 50km south of Amritsar, Praveen Kumar Sobti rose to win the 1966 Commonwealth Games Hammer Throw silver medal in Kingston. It was India’s maiden medal in a field event in the Commonwealth Games and only the second in athletics after Milkha Singh’s 440 yard gold in 1958.
Standing over 2m tall, he won Asian Games Discus Throw gold in Bangkok in 1966 and 1970, adding the Hammer Throw bronze in 1966 and Discus Throw Silver in 1974 in Tehran. In the Olympic Games competition in 1968 in Mexico City and 1972 in Munich, he produced his career best Hammer Throw (60.84m) and Discus Throw (53.12m) respectively.
“It is this quality of raising his game at the biggest of stages that made Praveen Kumar the top-notch performer,” Mr. Sumariwalla said. “To have achieved all this at a time when training for major competition entailed only short stints in a National camp speaks volumes about his natural talent and the passionate fire that drove him to achieve excellence.”