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Remembering Balbir Singh Sr – First Sportsperson to be Conferred With Padma Shri

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Balbir Singh Sr died on Monday after battling a number of well being points (Hockey India Photo)

Singh received three consecutive Olympic gold medals identical to the extra celebrated Dhyan Chand however lived a quieter life.

  • PTI Chandigarh
  • Last Updated: May 25, 2020, 10:57 AM IST

Balbir Singh Sr, considered one of India’s biggest hockey gamers who received three Olympic gold medals in a stellar profession, died at a hospital right here on Monday after battling a number of well being points for over two weeks.

The legendary centre-forward was 96 and is survived by his daughter Sushbir and three sons Kanwalbir, Karanbir, and Gurbir. His sons are settled in Canada and he used to dwell right here together with his daughter and grandson Kabir.

One of the nation’s most achieved athletes, Singh was the one Indian amongst 16 legends chosen by the International Olympic Committee throughout trendy Olympic historical past.

His world report for many objectives scored by a person within the males’s hockey last of the Olympics nonetheless stays unbeaten.

He had scored 5 objectives in India’s 6-1 victory over the Netherlands within the gold medal match of the 1952 Helsinki Games. He was conferred with the Padma Shri in 1957.

That was the primary time an athlete was conferred the celebrated civillian honour.

Singh’s three Olympic gold medals got here in London (1948), Helsinki (1952) as vice-captain, and Melbourne (1956) as captain.

He was additionally the supervisor of India’s solely World Cup-winning aspect in 1975.

Considered at par with Major Dhyan Chand in expertise, Singh was amongst unbiased India’s greatest hockey stars.

Singh and Dhyan Chand by no means performed collectively however are considered the jewels of Indian hockey, who impressed a complete era of hockey gamers.

While Dhyan Chand garnered extra recognition, particularly since his achievements got here below the British rule, Singh’s exploits have been no much less impactful.

Born in 1924 in Punjab’s Haripur Khalsa village, he was noticed by Harbail Singh, who was the then coach of Khalsa College and later coached India to back-to-back gold medals in 1952 Helsinki and 1956 Melbourne Olympics.

Singh received three consecutive Olympic gold medals identical to the extra celebrated Dhyan Chand however lived a quieter life.

In the previous few years, there was clamour for him to be honoured with the Bharat Ratna with Punjab Chief Minister Amrinder Singh even writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, demanding the nation’s highest civilian award for him.

A soft-spoken man however a tough task-master on the turf is how the gamers, who competed below the legend, recall him.

“He was a very soft-spoken person whose only concern was playing and teaching hockey. He was a hard task master.

“I nonetheless keep in mind how he imbibed, self perception and unity which helped us to win the 1975 World Cup,” captain of that aspect, Ajit Pal Singh, advised PTI remembering Singh.

It was the fourth time previously two years that the previous captain and coach was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).

In January final yr, Singh spent greater than three months in hospital due to bronchial pneumonia.


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