Crowds, cheers greet Khali at his police academy

May 20th, 2008 - 8:57 pm ICT by admin  

By Jaideep Sarin
Jalandhar (Punjab), May 20 (IANS) Hundreds of students lined the corridors of the four-storeyed school building in the Punjab Armed Police (PAP) complex here Tuesday, chanting “”Khali, Khali” as the huge Dalip Singh Rana stood in the central compound, acknowledging their cheers. The chanting of his name at the POlice DAV Public School would have reminded him of the World Wide Entertainment (WWE) ring during one of his fights in the US.

But here, ‘The Great Khali’ - as Rana is known in WWE circles - showed none of his ferocious looks that he would show in the ring. He just waved to students standing all around him.

For Rana, stepping into the PAP complex in this Punjab city was nothing less than a homecoming.

In 1993-94, he was brought here from Himachal Pradesh by the Punjab director general of police Mahal Singh Bhullar to be recruited as a constable in the Punjab Police under the sports quota.

Rana, who first tried his hand at basketball, discuss throwing and other games before settling for wrestling and body-building, spent five hours in the PAP complex Tuesday.

“I am happy to be back here. This place has given me the life that you see now. I will never forget it. Even my home state Himachal Pradesh did not do for me what the Punjab Police and people of Punjab did. I will always be grateful,” Rana said in Punjabi to a thunderous applause.

“Agar aap ne dhakke mar ke nikal diya toh alag baat hai, varna main Punjab Police mein kaam karta rahungaa,” the unlettered Khali said. (It is a different matter if you push me out of this force, but I myself will not quit the Punjab Police even after my present world champion status)

Khali is presently an adhoc assistant sub-inspector in the police force and continues to be on leave as he pursues his WWE profession in the US.

The 35-year-old Khali was given a colourful reception when he arrived here with wife Harminder Kaur. Police personnel lined up on both sides of the road of the PAP complex as he was ushered in to the beats of ‘dhol’ (drums) and bhangra.

His visit to the complex was waited upon by policemen, students and many curious Jalandhar residents. Inside the hall, people got up from their seats to have a glimpse of the 7-feet 3 inches, 420 pound (190 kg) giant as he walked in wearing blue jeans and a light blue shirt.

“I saw a lot of potential in this young man and brought him here. He has not disappointed me. He has made our country proud by entering an arena in which no Indian has ever ventured,” said Khali’s initial mentor Bhullar, who is credited with pushing several Punjab Police personnel into becoming international sports stars.

PAP’s Additional Director General of Police Rajan Gupta wished Khali all success saying that the Punjab police was proud to have him as part of it.

“The Punjab police is only a catalyst. Whatever he has achieved and brought fame to the country is because of his own hard work and dedication,” Gupta said.

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