Everyone dreams of joining the Indian Army and defending their country. More than any other occupation, sports has a tight relationship with the military, and numerous athletes have received highly designated posts in the territorial army. But in addition to athletes, the army has also hired people in the fields of politics and acting.
Although it can be challenging, switching careers is healthy. However, did you know that many athletes, politicians, actors, and other well-known figures have not only brought honor to India in their respective fields but have also benefited the country? The list of well-known people who were appointed to senior positions in the Indian army is as follows
Neeraj Chopra is an Indian track and field athlete. He is the reigning Olympic champion, World Championship silver medalist, and Diamond League champion in the javelin throw. He is the first Asian to win an Olympic gold medal in the men’s javelin throw. The Indian Army offered Chopra a direct appointment as a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) in the Rajputana Rifles with the rank of Naib Subedar after being impressed by his performance at the South Asian Games and his future potential. He accepted the offer and enlisted under the sports quota.
We all know pretty much everything about MS Dhoni, including how he ended matches, his blazing-fast stumpings, and of course his keen cricketing insight that helped India win numerous games. But did you know that, together with Abhinav Bindra, the former captain of the Indian cricket team received the honorary rank of lieutenant colonel in 2011?
After completing five parachute training jumps, he is also certified as a paratrooper. On Independence Day, he was spotted unfurling the flag, polishing his shoes, and playing volleyball with fellow Territorial Army men. President Ramnath Kovind presented the wicketkeeper-batsman with the Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian honor in the nation, at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won double trap shooting’s first-ever individual silver medal for India in Athens 2004. However, few are aware that Rathore served in the Indian Army and was commissioned as a member of the 9th Grenadiers (Mewar) Regiment in 1990. He then received a promotion to Lieutenant in 1992 before becoming a Major in 2000 and a Colonel in 2009 while participating in the Kargil conflict.
After quitting his job as a professional shooter, Rathore entered politics and was elected to the House of Commons. He later assumed leadership of the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry and the Sports Ministry.
According to Olympics.com, Rajyavardhan finished second in the world following the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens with a total of 25 international medals, including two golds.
Naib Subedar Deepak Punia is an Indian freestyle wrestler and Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) in the Indian Army who won a silver medal in the freestyle 86 kg category at the 2019 World Wrestling Championships and qualified for the 2020 Summer Olympics. He was born in the Haryana district of Jhajjar. He is the current Commonwealth champion in his weight class. He won gold at the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham after defeating Pakistan’s Muhammad Inam in the 86kg final.
We are all familiar with the tale of Milkha Singh, the Flying Sikh who essentially made India a world power in the realm of track and field. Milkha, a four-time gold winner at the Asian Games, also took home the gold at the 1958 Commonwealth Games.
His best effort, nevertheless, came at the 1960 Rome Olympics, where he came in fourth place in the 400-meter final. He also competed for India in the Olympics in 1956 and 1964. In 1959, he received the Padma Shri honor. In 1951, Milkha enlisted in the Indian military. Later, this sprinter represented India with pride in international forums. He received a commission to JCO from Sepoy after winning the Asian Games in 1958.
The Haryana Hurricane is a nickname for Kapil Dev. The first time we hear his name, we immediately think of the 1983 World Cup victory, which featured the most impressive World Cup innings by an Indian batsman. At Tunbridge Wells’ Neville Ground during a one-day international cricket match against Zimbabwe, he hit 175 runs in a single inning.
For the generations before us, seeing Kapil on the Lord’s balcony carrying the trophy was a sign of Indian cricket’s maturation. In 2008, a former captain of Indian cricket was appointed an honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Indian Territorial Army.
Abhinav Bindra is a person who is self-driven and disciplined. You need that if you have aspirations of winning an Olympic gold medal.
As the only individual Olympic gold medal winner for India at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, Bindra accomplished a feat that no other Indian had done before. The national anthem was played at the Games, and the nation experienced a moment of pride unseen since the men’s hockey team won India an Olympic gold medal in 1980.
No introduction is necessary for Sachin Tendulkar. For the majority of our generation, witnessing him develop from a young prodigy into a brilliant batsman and then retire made him an idol and a legend. After making his debut in 1989 and scoring his first century in 50-over cricket in 1994, Sachin went on to play until 2013, and for the majority of the second part of his career, he served as our go-to master blaster. But did you know that in 2010, Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar, also known as the cricketing God, enlisted in the Indian Air Force as a group captain? Yes, and made history by becoming the first non-aviator to obtain an honorary degree and the first sportsperson to do so.
Jitu Rai, a Subedar Major in the Indian Army, competes in the 50-meter pistol and 10-meter air pistol competitions. In 2016, the Indian government presented him with the Khel Ratna Award. He was given the Padma Shri, the fourth-highest civilian honor in the Republic of India, by the Indian government in 2020. Jitu Rai joined the 11 Gorkha Regiment as a Sepoy in 2006. He eventually reached the post of Subedar Major.
Dattu Baban Bhokanal
Dattu Bhokanal, an Indian rower and Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) in the Indian Army, qualified for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. He earned a silver medal in the men’s single sculls event at the FISA Asian and Oceania Olympic Qualification Regatta in Chung-Ju, South Korea, with a time of 7 minutes, 07.63 seconds, qualifying him for the Olympics.
Sport shooter Honorary Captain Vijay Kumar Sharma, AVSM, SM was born in India on August 19, 1985. In the individual 25-meter rapid-fire pistol competition at the 2012 Summer Olympics, he took home the silver medal. Kumar is a native of the Himachal Pradesh village of Barsar and a former Subedar Major (Warrant Officer Class I) in the Indian Army’s Dogra Regiment (16th Battalion), who was later given the rank of Honorary Captain. The Olympic Gold Quest movement backs Vijay Kumar. At 25m rapid fire pistol, he is the only Indian to have achieved medal success. Since 2003, he has been assigned to the Indian Army Marksmanship Unit (AMU) Mhow, where he is instructed by Pavel Smirnov of Russia.
Ram Singh Yadav
Ram Singh Yadav is an Indian marathon runner who was born on November 7, 1984. At the London 2012 Summer Olympics, Ram represented India. With a time of 2:16:59 at the 2012 Mumbai Marathon, which is also his best effort in this competition, he met the B qualification requirement (2:18:00). He is only the second Indian athlete to have ever qualified for the Olympic marathon. Shivnath Singh, an Indian athlete, competed in the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal before Yadav. Ram serves in the Indian Army as a havildar.
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