Patiala has been synonymous with sports ever since the days of His Highness Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, the famous ruler of the erstwhile State of Patiala. From cricket to polo, to wrestling, and even roller hockey, there have been champions who were mentored by the state, while the maharajas themselves were superlative polo players, cricket players, and shooters.
We meet the grandson of Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, Raja Randhir Singh, who, besides being an Arjuna Award-winning shooter, is a highly awarded sports administrator who has been on the world’s topmost sporting committees. He’s been a lifetime member of the International Olympic Committee, the Indian Olympic Association (1984-2014), and secretary general, then vice-president of the Olympic Council of Asia, that runs the Asian Games (1991-2014 and 2014-), and also vice-president of the Commonwealth Games Federation.
Sports clearly run in the bloodlines of Patiala. Maharaja Bhupinder Singh brought in the first Australian team and the Marylebone Cricket Club teams to India, playing for the latter in India. “The 1911 India team that went to England was captained by him,” says Raja Randhir. “Even the Ranji Trophy was donated by my grandfather in memory of Kumar Shri Ranjit