Once a Railways TT now a Dronacharya award nominee

New Delhi: From a Railways Ticket Examiner to becoming a nominee of Dronacharya award, life has changed a lot in the last three decades for Randhir Singh.

The 55-year-old Singh, who once worked intensely to capture without-ticket travellers in trains -- plying on Baghpat, Jind, Loni and Shamli route -- has now produced five Arjuna awardees and several international Kabaddi players.

Singh is a Dronacharya award nominee of the Railways Sports Control Board for Kabaddi for the year 2011.

Last year`s two Arjuna awardees in Kabaddi -- Rakesh Kumar and V Taejaswini Bai -- have also trained under him for years.

"All my students were keen that I should make an effort to get my work acknowledged. Then I got my achievements listed and forwarded it. Now if the results of my hard work gets due recognition, it would be great. I am happy otherwise too," Singh, who himself was an Arjuna awardee in 1997, told PTI in an interaction.

Rakesh, who was captain of the Indian Kabaddi team that won gold in 2010 Asian Games, joins the conversation.

"Look, what I am today is because of coach sahab (sir). Our achievement was recognised when we won gold, then coach sahab should also get his due. After all it is his hard work that we could perform at big stage," said Rakesh, who has trained for 14 years under Singh, said.

Singh, who is now Railways Sports Officer, was also nominated by the National Kabaddi Federation last year but could not make the cut.

"This time, my department has sent my nomination and I am quite hopeful this year," he said.

Singh said catching the travel offenders and filling the Railways coffers with fine was an easier job than churning out talented players in a game which is popular only in rural India.

"I worked tirelessly during those days as many milkmen from Loni would travel without ticket and bully the other travellers. I used to get up at 3:00 am in the morning and send TTs in groups. They would catch offenders and fine them. For three years, I had a record of collecting the maximum revenue that Railways had lost to offenders.

"But I tell you, this job of identifying talent and training players is tougher. The game is still confined to rural belt and it`s tough to motivate players to pick this game," he said.

However, he said ever since the game has come on the mat, several young urban girls have taken up the game.

"In the last National Games, several girls from DU colleges such as Daulat Ram and S P Mukherjee came forward. The Asiad and SAF Games are also now played on mat and not on soil, so things are changing but slowly," he said.

Singh also runs private academies in Delhi and Harayana and if he finds a player, who he thinks can excel at big stage, brings him to national level.