Tejinder Pal Singh Toor’s broad shoulders weren’t just carrying the weight of hopes his countrymen had pinned on him to win a medal in shot put in Jakarta, but he was also weighed down by worry and concern for his father who has been fighting a long battle against cancer back home in his village Khosa Pando in Moga district. Tejinder’s mother Tirtpal Kaur was watching her son on TV along with her ailing husband Karam Singh Toor at their home. As soon as it become clear that Tejinder had clinched gold, his mother jumped in excitement, and his father who could not speak and is bed-ridden had a smile on his face. “My husband was always called ‘Hero’ in our village as during his younger days he liked to watch a lot of movies. Now his son has lived up to the name and become a real life hero,” says the proud mother.
Immediately after the win, villagers and friends thronged their home to congratulate his parents. “The atmosphere was like a marriage, Tejinder’s friends were insisting on dancing to music, but keeping in mind my husband’s health, I stopped them from playing loud music,” says Tejinder’s mother. After winning the medal Tejinder called his mother and told her that his hard work had finally come to fruition. “He also asked me to make lassi and lots of kheer from him when he gets back from the Asian games,” she laughs.
Her phone has not stopped ringing ever since the win, and the first to call was his sister who lives in the US. “Many people are calling us, many NRIs are also calling us saying that Tejinder has made them proud,” she says beaming with pride. A day after Tejinder won the medal, his father’s health deteriorated again and he was admitted to hospital. He passed away on 3 September.