Chandigarh, May 25
Hockey legend and three-time Olympics gold medallist Balbir Singh Sr was cremated with full state honours by the Punjab Police at the Sector 25 electric crematorium here today.
The cremation was attended by Punjab Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi, former hockey Olympian Pargat Singh, former Punjab minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa, Chandigarh Sports Secretary KK Yadav, UT Director (Sports) Tejdeep Singh Saini, Hockey Chandigarh President Chander Shekhar and Secretary Anil Vohra among others.
‘Was Punjab’s pride, nation’s treasure’
Punjab Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi announced that the state government would forward Balbir’s name for the Bharat Ratna and name the Mohali hockey stadium after the legendary figure. “On behalf of the state government, the Punjab Sports Department will name our Mohali-based international hockey stadium after Balbir Singh Sr. Our government will also recommend his name for the Bharat Ratna. He was not only Punjab’s pride but also a great treasure of the nation. The countrymen will remember him always for his immense contribution to hockey,” said Sodhi.
The 96-year-old had been battling several age-related problems for over two weeks and breathed his last at a private hospital in Mohali. He was on ventilator support since May 12 and had tested negative for Covid-19.
Balbir Sr, largely considered as the second best in the sport only after Dhyan Chand, was living with his daughter Sushbir Bhomia and grandson Kabir Singh Bhomia at his Sector 36 residence in Chandigarh. The centre forward was the only Indian among 16 legends chosen by the International Olympic Committee across modern Olympics history. His record for scoring the most goals by an individual in the men’s hockey final of the Olympics stands unbeaten till date — Balbir Sr had scored five of India’s goals in the 6-1 victory over the Netherlands in the gold medal match of the 1952 Helsinki Games. He was conferred with the Padma Shri in 1957 and had managed India’s World Cup-winning team in 1975. — TNS
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