Balbir Singh name and hockey were synonymous as he contributed so much to it. But Balbir Singh Sr was not immune to the charm of cricket as he once told former skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni that, “your victory contributes towards my good health”.
The 95-year-old Singh, who was a part of Hockey team who won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, unfortunately he died on Monday in Mohali.
He encountered with Dhoni 4 years ago when the Indian team was at the PCA stadium in Mohali ahead of their World T20 tie against Australia. Singh wanted to convey his good wishes to the team before the game.
When Dhoni thanked him and enquired about his health, to which the legend smiled and replied, “your victory contributes towards my good health”.
Then at the age of 92, Singh told the PTI, “I came to wish the team to win their third World Title and compete their own golden hat-trick.” His wishes worked as India defeated Australia to make the semifinals before going down to the West Indies in that edition of World T20.
The hockey icon was battling multiple health issues and had been on life support for over two weeks. Singh being one of the country’s greatest athletes, became the only Indian among the 16 legends chosen by the international Olympic Committee across the modern Olympic history.
In the final of the Olympics, his world record for most goals scored by an individual in the men’s hockey has stood the test of time.
In Helsinki Olympic Games, he scored 5 goals in India’s 6-1 victory over the Netherlands in the gold medal match.
The legend was also conferred with the Padma Shri in 1957 and not only this but was also the manger of the India’s World-Cup winning team in 1975.