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Balbir Singh Sr: Hockey legend passed away at 96

Balbir Singh Sr., the iconic centre-forward was the country’s most accomplished athletes. He was the only Indian among the 16 legends who was chosen by the International Olympic Committee across the modern Olympic history.

 

May 25, 2020 13:07 IST
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Balbir Singh Sr., a three-time Olympic-medal winning hockey legend passed away on May 25. He was battling multiple health issues for over two weeks.

The hockey legend was 96 and has been survived by his daughter Sushbir and three sons Karanbir, Kanwalbir, and Gurbir. The Director of Fortis Hospital, Mohali informed that he passed away at around 6.30 am and had been admitted to the hospital since May 8.

Balbir Singh Sr., the iconic centre-forward was the country’s most accomplished athletes. He was the only Indian among the 16 legends who was chosen by the International Olympic Committee across the modern Olympic history.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also shared the news through his Twitter account. He mentioned his remarkable contribution to the game and gave his condolences to Balbir Singh’s family and well-wishers.

The head coach of the Indian Cricket Team, Ravi Shastri also paid tribute to the hockey legend through his official twitter handle.

Manpreet Singh, captain of the Indian Hockey team tweeted the news and mentioned Balbir Singh Sr. as a legendary player of all time.

Balbir Singh Sr. was facing health issues:

Balbir Singh Sr., the three-time Olympic Gold Medalist was facing health issues and was in a semi-comatose state since May 18, 2020. He had developed a blood clot in his brain after being admitted to the hospital for bronchial pneumonia with a high fever.

The hockey player was hospitalized after experiencing high fever, he had also suffered three cardiac arrests during the course of his treatment.

It was the fourth time in the past two years that Balbir Singh Sr. was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). In January 2019, he spent more than three months in hospital due to bronchial pneumonia.

Background:

Balbir Singh Sr. was born on December 31, 1923 in Punjab, British India. The three-time Olympic Gold Champion has been regarded as one of the greatest hockey players of all time. His world record for scoring most goals by an individual in the men’s hockey final of the Olympic still remains unbeaten.

Balbir Singh Sr. won three Olympic Gold medals in London (1948), Helsinki (1952) which he won as vice-captain and Melbourne (1956) as a captain of the Indian Hockey team. The legend had scored five goals in India’s 6-1 victory over the Netherlands in the gold medal match of the Helsinki games in 1952.

Balbir Singh Sr. was conferred with the Padma Shri award in 1957. The hockey legend was also the manager of India’s only world cup winning side in 1975.

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