Hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr breathed his last on Monday morning (May 25, 2020) in Mohali. The triple Olympic Champion and World Cup-winning team manager was 96 and was in a critical condition for nearly a fortnight.
Balbir Singh was the most decorated athlete in Indian sports history with Olympic medals in 1948, 1952 and 1956 Summer Games.
His record for most individual goals scored in an Olympic men's hockey final remains unbeaten. He had scored five goals in India's 6-1 victory over the Netherlands in the gold medal match of the 1952 Helsinki Olympics. Under his captaincy, India scored 38 goals and conceded none on its way to the gold medal in 1956 Melbourne Olympics.
He was the head coach of the Indian team for the 1975 men's World Cup, which India won and the 1971 men's World Cup, where India earned a bronze medal. He was also conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri in 1957 and the Major Dhyan Chand Life Time Achievement Award in 2014.
He also became the only Asian male and only Indian among 16 athletes to be chosen as "Iconic Olympians" by the International Olympic Committee across the modern Olympics' history.
Sports fraternity remembers him fondly.
Source: SIFY with agency inputs