Thursday, June 20, 2024

Balbir Singh, Indian hockey icon, passes away aged 96

Indian hockey icon Balbir Singh, who won three Olympic golds as a player before becoming a coach and World Cup winner, has passed away aged 96.

Singh had battled a prolonged illness and died in Chandigarh on Monday.

He won three Olympic gold medals came in London (1948), Helsinki (1952) and Melbourne (1956) where he was captain.

Singh, pictured below, was not originally called up for the 1948 Games but was included as a forward and scored two goals in the Olympic final against GB at Wembley Stadium. In front of 25,000 fans, India won the final 4-0, their first gold as a free nation following independence.

Four years later he scored five goals in the final against Holland in a 6-1 win. His record for most goals scored by an individual in a men’s hockey final remains unbeaten today.

At the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Singh played the final with an injured hand as he led India to a sixth Olympic gold medal against rivals Pakistan.

Following retirement, Singh turned to coaching where he led India to success at the 1975 World Cup, the nation’s only victory in the sport’s showpiece.

He was chosen as one of the 16 iconic Olympians across all disciplines since 1896 and was honoured by the International Olympic Committee during the London 2012 Olympics.

Singh was the oldest surviving Indian Olympic medallist, which now passes on to Keshav Dutt, a team-mate from the 1948 London Olympics.

The Asian Hockey Federation said in a statement: “With deep sadness, we received the news of demise of the beloved Padma Shiri Balbir Singh Dosanjh. Certainly Balbir Singh will long be remembered for his devotedness and contributions for the field hockey in India and at global hockey arena.

“Balbir Singh left behind a legacy which will always be cherished and serve as a beacon for many budding talents. The Asian Hockey family also joins me to extend our deepest condolences on this bereavement. We are sorry to have lost such a great player and hockey leader.”

Please help keep independent journalism alive in these uncertain times. With the media industry affected by advertising, we are continuing to offer our coverage free until we return in print.

Ahead of the new season, please subscribe in print or in digital format. Subscriptions for clubs, schools and individuals.

Total Hockey


Most Popular


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More from Author

How Newport, formed in 2017, won England Hockey emerging club of the year award

Seven short years on from being formed, Newport Hockey Club were...

‘This will be my last Olympic Games – I’ll appreciate every moment’

Team GB women's hockey captain Hollie Pearne-Webb will once again wear...

Paris Olympics Hockey: Belgium and rivals unveil squads

All the latest news as nations unveil their squads for the...

Olympics Hockey: We feel pain of omitted players, says GB coach Revington

Men's coach Paul Revington emphasised that ‘balance’ was uppermost in his...

- A word from our sponsors -