Toor’s biggest asset is his temperament to deal with challenges. Chances of boarding the flight seemed gloomy when the athlete, weighing around 140kgs and standing 5’11 tall, fell during a training session at NIS, Patiala, resulting in a nasty fracture of his throwing wrist which kept the iron ball off his hands for six weeks.
“It was difficult, as if the first lockdown wasn’t enough to hamper training schedules, the fracture rubbed salt to my chances. But thanks to my coach Mohinder Singh Dhillon and physio Abhishek Pandey, who made sure that my training wasn’t interrupted even during those six weeks. The hand was strapped till the elbow area and I could continue with my regular workouts,” Toor told TOI from Patiala.
“During that phase, the desperation to breach 21.10m kept me motivated, and I kept reminding myself that the first milestone was yet to be achieved,” he continued.
Cut to 2021, Toor made a slow yet steady comeback with throws of 19.49m (at IGP-2), 20.09m (IGP-3) and at the Federation Cup in March, he could manage 20.58m, thereby falling short of the Tokyo cut before the second wave arrived.
“It was frightening but nevertheless I knew we had another couple of months,” he said.
Two months later, it was double delight for the burly shot-putter. He first ensured his ticket to Tokyo with a new national record throw of 21.49m at the Indian Grand Prix 4 in Patiala, and a week later registered another throw of 21.10m at the Senior National Athletics Championships at the same venue.
However, during the nationals, Toor appeared in some discomfort, despite his efforts of 20.42, 20.63 and 20.92 besides the 21.10.
He clarifies: “After qualifying, the coach decided to improvise on the training, as he felt I had reached my peak. So there was a bit of niggle.”
While the 27-year-old now aims to breach the 22m mark in Tokyo, he prefers to stay grounded.
“Yes that’s the target but it all depends on how things pan out on that day. The focus now is on the medal more than anything else,” he said.
Toor was supposed to fly to Turkey for training, but shelved his plans after his coach Dhillon was denied the visa as he was infected with Covid-19.
From an aspiring cricketer to taking up shot-put at the insistence of his father Karam Singh, who lost his battle with bone cancer a couple of days after his 2018 Asiad heroics, Toor’s road to Olympics has witnessed many setbacks.
He got over that difficult phase with a gold medal at the 2019 Asian Athletics Championships in Doha. He had dedicated the medal to his late father. In 2020, Toor admitted to having battled depression after being forced to shadow practice due to the Covid-enforced lockdown.
On each occasion, the athlete has emerged stronger. Thankfully he has left behind the other two D’s — ‘depression’ and ‘dejection’.
Going ahead, Toor hopes to fulfill his father’s dreams of an Olympic gold, as he seeks blessings of the two important ladies in his life, his mother Pritpal Kaur and grandmother Jangir Kaur. Considering his current form, Toor can exceed expectations.