India lost another one of its gems early on Monday morning. Legendary Indian hockey player Balbir Singh passed away at a hospital in Mohali at age 96. Balbir Singh Sr. is famous for winning India's first Olympic medal in the year 1948 at the British Olympic Games. The sportsman went ahead to win two more Olympic gold medals India in Helsinki (1952) and later Melbourne. (1956)
Actor Akshay Kumar took to Twitter to express his grief over the loss of the iconic sports personality. Akshay Kumar met Balbir on the sets of his 2018 film Gold which is based directly on Balbir Singh Sr. inspiring story of the time he won a gold medal. Akshay Kumar tweeted out writing, "Saddened to hear about the demise of hockey legend #BalbirSingh ji. Have had the good fortune of meeting him in the past, such an amazing personality! My heartfelt condolences to his family."
Balbir Singh Sr. is one among 16 legends chosen by the International Olympic Committee across modern Olympic history. Singh still holds the record for the most goals scored by a single hockey player during a game. Singh scored five goals in India's 6-1 victory over the Netherlands in the gold medal match of the 1952 Helsinki Games.
The sportsman was later awarded with the Padma Shri in 1957. In India Balbir became the first sportsman to receive this highly prestigious civilian award. He was also the manager of India's only World Cup-winning side in 1975. Balbir Singh truly placed India's name in the international community with his legendary sports career.
Saddened to hear about the demise of hockey legend #BalbirSingh ji. Have had the good fortune of meeting him in the past, such an amazing personality! My heartfelt condolences to his family pic.twitter.com/knjOq7VEav