Padma Shri Kaur Singh 69, once famous as the biggest boxing legend in India has now been forgotten as the glory faded and is living in the difficult time where he is struggling to repay a Rs 2 lakh loan he borrowed for his cardiac treatment.
Kaur Singh is the only name in the history of Indian boxing that has fought against the greatest boxing legend Muhammad Ali and withstood him in 1980, in an exhibition match in New Delhi.
Singh joined the Indian Army as havaldar in 1971 when he was 23 and gained popularity during the 1982 Asian Games winning the gold and also won two consecutive matches in 1984’s Los Angeles Olympics just before his retirement. Honoured with Arjuna Award in 1982 and Padmashri in 1983, the former boxer clinched various laurels in the Army as well.
However, the champion was eventually left with a fate like most Indian sportsperson during his financial crises when he was diagnosed with Cardiac ailment two years ago. The only help he did receive was from the Army which provided Rs 3 lakh for his treatment but the amount fell short so he further managed a private loan of Rs 2 lakh, now repaid.
“This year, I had to borrow Rs 2 lakh again for hospital expenses in Mohali. The amount escalates to an additional Rs 50,000 within a span of 6 months as interest and my income is not tenable to repay the debt. I don’t know how I will return this encumbrance,” he told the Times of India.
The boxer though derives a pension but his treatment expenses do not seem to settle, he is still in debt of Rs 2.5 lakh facing similar crises again. Moreover, the helplessness is of the fact that Kaur never even received the Rs 1 lakh cash reward announced by the Punjab Government in 1982 after he got gold in New Delhi Asiad.
A TOI report quotes him: “I was promised Rs 1 lakh which might be equal to Rs 20 lakh in contemporary times. Rs 8000 is just the expense of my monthly medicines. The visitation fees of the doctor, other life supporting expenditure at hospital sometimes accounts for much more.”
Losing faith in the system and taking care of his ailments and bedridden wife Baljeet Kaur, he now discourages his son into taking sports as a career.
Indian Army on Rescue Again
The Army once again emerged as the godsend after reading media reports, helped Singh with an amount of Rs 5.27 lakh being paid to the Mohali private hospital.
“Kaur Singh is an army pensioner receiving a monthly pension of Rs 33,000 and was entitled to unlimited medical support through Ex-Servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS).”
The Western Command headquarters of the Army also confirmed to bear Rs 8000 a month for Kaur’s treatment, as spoken to the TOI.
This proves that the Army is always standing tall for the heroes of the country.