PTC Exclusive: Olympic champion Alexi Grewal, hero of 1984 Los Angeles Olympic games, to marry: Olympic gold medalist Alexi Grewal is all set to start a new inning in life. On January 9 when India celebrates Pravasi Bharati Divas – a day dedicated to People of Indian Origin – 57-year-old US Born, 1984 Olympic Games road race champion marries Kamalmani Manjit Bhalla, in accordance with Sikh traditions and rites.
The marriage was solemnised at a simple ceremony in a Gurdwara where only family members and close friends have been invited.
Alexi Grewal is incidentally the first athlete of Indian origin to win an individual Olympic gold medal. Twenty-four years later, the honour to win the first individual gold medal in Olympic Games went to Abhinav Bindra in the shooting.
Abhinav had won country’s first ever individual gold in Olympic Games in Beijing in 2008.
“I am happy to rediscover my roots,” says Alexi Grewal, who has come to India for the second time in his life. He had first visited India 20 years ago. His father, Jasjit Singh Grewal, himself a cyclist, had moved to the USA in his late teens. All his three sons – Alexi (Olympic champion), Ranjit and Rishi – are all cycling legends. Ranjit and Rishi are into mountain biking.
Alexi has strong roots in India. His grandfather, Bhagwant Singh Grewal, was Director of Education at Patiala Court. Jasjit Singh Grewal was born in Simla (now Shimla). Manjeet, one of the sisters of Jasjit Grewal, happened to be Miss Simla while his other sister, Mohanjeet, who moved to France, is a fashion designer and had the distinction of designing dresses for like of Jane Fonda and first lady of the US, wife of JF Kennedy. His third sister, Nirmaljeet, is settled in Delhi.
His great-grandfather was Commissioner in Chief of Rewa Royalty. Jasjit Singh Grewal married Martha Huber, a German lady, and settled in the US where he groomed all his three sons as cyclists.
Talking of his marriage, Alexi says he is ready as “we are two people from totally different cultures” and adds “we have found deep delights in each other’s souls.”
Kamalmani Manjit Bhalla:
Kamalmani Manjit Bhalla is a research scholar and holds M.Sc. and M.Phil degrees. She is registered for Doctorate and worked as a scholar with the State Forest Research Institute. Her late father was a Central Government employee. Though her father came from Amritsar and mother from Mohali, the family has now settled in Madhya Pradesh.
Alexi Grewal’s family had a long association with Simla as its ancestral home is still there.
Alexi is keen to work and train young Indian cyclists. He is toying with the idea of setting up a cycling academy also. Soon after his arrival in India, he went on Nilgiri mission where he interacted with young and experienced cyclists.After marriage, Alexi and Kamalmani plan to visit Punjab and Kashmir. “I am keen to witness Rural Olympics at Kila Raipur. Rural games are something I look forward as I immerse myself in Indian culture.”
Pictures: Alexi Singh Grewal and wife Manjit Kaur after wedding
Immediately after Anand Karaj at a Jabalpur Gurdwara Alexi Singh Grewal is all smiles
Wedding of Alexi: Alexi Singh arrives at Gurdwara before his wedding ceremony
Witness At the wedding of Alexi Singh Grewal as witness It is first ever wedding of an Olympic gold medalist (individual) solemnised on Indian soil No Individual Olympic gold medalist has ever been married on Indian soil.