CHANDIGARH: Punjab boy Navdeep Singh, who topped the CBSE's National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET), was confident of securing a high score but never dreamt of securing first position in the examination.
The son of a government school principal in Muktsar's Charewan village, he has scored 697 marks out of 720 in the exam the result of which was declared today.
"I was expecting a good rank in the NEET, but never thought I would top the entrance exam," said Navdeep, who aims to study at the Maulana Azad Medical College (MAMC) in Delhi.
With a percentile score of 99.99, the Punjab boy is followed by Madhya Pradesh's Archit Gupta and Manish Mulchandani at second and third rank respectively.
About his interests, the 18-year-old said, "I have just two passions, studies and cricket."
He completed his Class 12 from Shivalik Public Senior Secondary School in Mukstar with 88 per cent marks and later took coaching for the NEET at a private institute here.
Describing his son as hardworking, Gopal Singh said, "He slogged hard as his focus was to be among the top 10 in the NEET. Right from his childhood, my son did only two things, study and sleep. He slept for just six hours after passing his tenth with an aim to be among the toppers."
"Since, I am a teacher of Physics, my son too developed an interest in the subject. Its the hard work you put that matters and not the place from where you do your Class 12," Gopal said.
He said his son secured the 202 rank in AIIMS as his general knowledge was not good, but that did not matter in the NEET.
Navdeep has a younger brother, who is studying in Class 10, and his mother Simarjeet Kaur works at the Life Insurance Corporation of India.
In Punjab and Haryana, five students have bagged spots among the top 25.
Apart from Navdeep, Nikita Goyal and Tanisha Bansal from Punjab secured the eighth and tenth ranks respectively in the test conducted for admission to MBBS and BDS courses.
From Haryana, Kanish Tayal was seventh while Aditi Goyal secured rank 22.
Meanwhile, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh congratulated Navdeep for this achievement.
"Congratulations Navdeep Singh for topping this year's NEET. You have indeed done Punjab proud. Best wishes," he tweeted.
A total of 11,38,890 students had appeared for the NEET, out of which 6,11,539 have passed the medical entrance examination which was held on May 7.
Of these, 2,66,221 were male aspirants while 3,45,313 were females. Eight transgenders also appeared for the test, out of which five have qualified.