Dalip Singh, Brigadier
First Sikh to Represent India in the Olympics (B.1899)
To the late Brigadier Dalip Singh goes the credit of being the first Sikh to represent India in the Olympics. The 1924 Olympic Games were held in Paris in which India sent a contingent of seven athletes. In this seven-man squad, two Sikhs, Dalip and Palam made their debut.
The Sikh had missed the bus only four years ago when six Indian athletes had participated in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics. Dalip Singh could not have made to the Paris Olympics Games but for the patronage. and help coining in from the late Maharajadhiraj Bhupinder Singh of Patiala. It may be recalled that Dalip Singh besides being a ,fine athlete was a good hockey player also. When the trials were to be held at Lahore (now in Pakistan) for the Paris Olympics, Dalip Singh was scheduled to play for Patiala Tigers, a hockey team. It was here that the Maharaja of Patiala came to recognise his worth and helped him take a well-deserved place in the seven-man athletic team.- It is true that the team then did not bring home any laurels, but it is on record that two among the Indian athletes performed really well, and one of them was Dalip Singh. In the long jump event, he narrowly missed a mark which could have earned him a place among the first six.
Another honour which went to Dalip Singh was that he was the first Indian, a Sikh, to be the torch-bearer at the inaugural Asian Games at Delhi in 1951.
Born at Dolon village in Ludhiana district, Dalip Singh had his schooling in Mission School, then he joined Forman Christian College and Law College, Lahore. Even at School he showed potential of a good sportsman, nay all-rounder. In fact, he emerged as a fine athlete, showing great skill in 100,200,440 yards, 120 yards hurdles and long jump during the university days. He played hockey and cricket too.
But he got the real breakthrough when he was selected to represent India in the 1924 Paris Olympics. In the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics he was the captain of the Indian athletic team.
In fact, Dalip Singh can be described as a very distinguished man, In World War II, Dalip served the Patiala Infantry. He had joined the Patiala Army in 1924. For his services, he was awarded M.B.E. (Medal for British Empire)