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Fauja Singh’s Kin Accuse Guinness Book Of Racism In Failing To Recognize Asians

Centenarian Sikh marathoner Fauja Singh’s Punjab-based relatives say the Guinness Book’s unwillingness to list Fauja’s achievement is a rude shock. They also questioned the double standards of the publishers when it came to recognising accomplishments by Asians, suggesting racism might be behind the decision.

JALANDHAR – Livid relatives of centenarian Fauja Singh reacted sharply to the decision of Guinness Book of World Records not to list his feat in their publication. Describing the Guinness’ unwillingness to list his achievement as a rude shock, they questioned the double standards of the publishers when it came to recognising accomplishments by Asians.

The officials refused to list Singh’s name as the world’s oldest marathon runner, while questioning his birth and age records. This, despite the fact that the British Government had issued him a passport and had been recognising his achievements as a marathon runner.

Fauja Singh became the first centenarian to complete the Scotia Bank Toronto Waterfront Marathon held on October 16. He had broken the record of a 98-year-old British citizen after reaching this benchmark.

Fauja Singh’s family, relatives and neighbours back home in Beas village in Jalandhar termed the British Government as ‘hypocritical’ and using ‘double standards’ when it came to endorsing his name upon his having achieved the landmark.

A dejected Harwinder Singh, son of Fauja Singh, questioned the rationale of the Guinness Book of World Records on his age and birth saying, “My father was born on April 1, 1911 at village Beas in Jalandhar. He was brought up in a family of agriculturists and never went to school. My father is illiterate and just knows how to sign in Urdu language.”

He said, “My father took up running as it was his passion and not for making or breaking records. We are surprised — Where was this British Government when my father kept on raising money for charity events in England and while his previous marathon records were set?”

Paramjit Singh Patar from Patar Kalan village in Jalandhar, a relative of Fauja Singh, said it made world news when Queen of England, Elizabeth-II had honoured Fauja Singh when he turned 100 recently.

“The British Government is challenging its own authority by not supporting my father’s achievement. Why did they honour him if they were suspicious about his age records?” he questioned.

He also highlighted that the Indian Government started registering names after 1928. “That was a time when India was being ruled by the British. In fact, one of the villagers, a retired Indian Army personnel, who is 85 years old, told us that Fauja Singh was older to him by more than 15 years and they grew up together in village Beas. We had sent an application of his date of birth duly signed by a notary long time ago, which is proof of his age,” he added.

Paramjit also pointed out that Fauja Singh never ran for gaining popularity or earning money. “He hails from a well-to-do family of farmers in village Beas while his son Sukhjinder Singh is well off and resides in London. Fauja Singh is a name synonymous with passion and zeal for marathons and the British Government should acknowledge it,” he said.

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