CHANDIGARH: Triple-Olympic gold medallist Balbir Singh Senior died here on Monday. The 96-year-old had been admitted to the hospital for bronchial pneumonia earlier this month and he was on a ventilator support. He breathed his last at 6:17 am on Monday. He was in a semi-comatose state since May 18 and had developed a blood clot in his brain. He is survived by his daughter Sushbir and three sons Kanwalbir, Karanbir, Gurbir.
Balbir Sr was one of the legendary athletes and he was one among 16 legends chosen by the International Olympic Committee. He was a member of the 1948 London Olympics gold medal-winning Indian hockey team. He was the vice-captain of the Indian team led by KD Singh Babu at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.
Balbir Singh Senior was born on December 31, 1923 to Sardar Dalip Singh and Karam Kaur. Balbir in his autobiography, The Golden Hat-Trick wrote that, “I was born in a village. After a few years, my parents brought me to a small town. There I saw her for the first time. I liked her, respected her, loved her and worshiped her. She became my Goddess, my first love and my darling. She took me along to new pastures and new places in different countries all over the world. Wherever we went, we were accorded royal receptions. She taught me the qualities of sportsmanship. Her love for me was eternal. Our love blossomed in London. We married in Helsinki and honeymooned in Melbourne. After a period of 11 long years, my fairy of the Heavens returned to me as fresh and charming as ever. This time she took me to Kuala Lumpur, and we were again on top of the world. She vanished again, but with a promise that she would return. I am waiting for her my hockey fairy. She must come.”