Remembering Asian Games gold medalist Praveen Kumar Sobti, also known as the ‘Bheem’ of Mahabharat

Sobti, who was an elite Indian athlete before turning into acting, has passed following a cardiac arrest late on February 7th, Monday evening at his Delhi residence. He was 74.

“He had a chronic chest infection problem. At night, when he started feeling uneasy, we called the doctor at home. He passed away between 10 and 10:30 pm following a cardiac arrest,” PTI quoted a relative of Sobti.

Praveen Kumar Sobti was a discus throw Olympian who won two Asian Games gold medals in 1966 and 1970. He also achieved a bronze medal in the 1966 Asian Games in Bangkok in the hammer throw competition, as well as an Asian Games silver medal at the 1974 Tehran Games. 

Apart from his four Asian Games medals and numerous national titles, Sobti also had won a medal in the 1966 Commonwealth Games and was also an Arjuna awardee. Furthermore, Sobti competed in two Olympic Games for India, in Mexico in 1968 and Munich in 1972.

After ending his athletics career, Sobti played the role of Bheem in that epic mythological TV series “Mahabharat” every Sunday on Doordarshan in the late 1980s and early 1990s, which became part of life for every household across India. He also appeared in 50 movies! 

Thus, the nationwide is in sorrow losing their respected athlete and beloved character.

When Covid-19 caused a statewide lockdown in 2020, Mahabharat and its renowned characters re-appeared on TV screens for the first time. Even the re-telecast of the series had a record amount of views.

In May 2020, Sobti shared his memories in an exclusive interview with “Film industry has given me a lot. But sports will always be my first love. I still cherish those moments. When you stand on the podium, with the medal hanging around your neck, it is an incredible feeling. Nothing can beat it. That is something no one can take from a sportsperson,” Sobti said.