January 14, 2011
Arjuna Awardee basketball player Anil Kumar Punj passes away at 63
Anil Kumar Punj, Arjuna Awardee, former outstanding International Basketball Player of India died on January 14, 2011 in Delhi. He was 63 years old.
Punj had an illustrious career in the Border Security Force from 1968 to 2004 from where he retired as Commandant. He distinguished himself at the international and national level and was a member of the Indian Basketball Teams which participated in the 1970 Asian Games in Bangkok, and two Asian Basketball Championships - 1971 (Tokyo) and 1973 (Manila). Anil Kumar Punj was a highly talented, brilliant and respected player. He was famed for his sportsmanship and for always gave his best to the team.
Over his career Punj bagged two Gold, four Silver and four Bronze Medals in National Basketball Championships and also 13 Gold Medals and 2 Silver Medals in All India Police Games. He was decorated with the Arjuna Award by the Govt. of India in 1976 and Police Medal for Meritorious Services 1992. He was also decorated with the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award by the Punjab Govt. in 1986.
The Punjab Basketball Association (PBA), in a special meeting presided over by Basketball Federation of India (BFI) President R.S. Gill, IPS (Retd.), condoled the sudden demise of Punj. In this hour of grief, the PBA has promised to stand the family of the deceased and offer all help wherever and whenever required.
Harish Sharma, the Secretary-General of the BFI offered his condolences to Punj's family and friends. "This is great loss to basketball in India," said Sharma, "Anil Kumar Punj was a legendary basketball player."
Teja Singh Dhaliwal, the Secretary-General of the PBA, said, "It is a sad moment for the basketball society. We have lost a great player and a great friend."