If anybody qualifies to be referred to as a legend in Indian hockey after Dhyan Chand, it’s Balbir Singh Senior, stated iconic Milkha Singh condoling the demise of his ‘great friend’. The former hockey skipper breathed his final on Monday morning at a metropolis hospital.
Balbir and Milkha competed collectively on the highest degree for the nation of their respective video games and even labored collectively for Punjab Sports division within the 1960s.
Also Read | Balbir Singh Senior cremated with state honours
“I had a very close association with him. The then Punjab Chief Minister Pratap Singh Kairon had brought us to the Sports Department, which we had joined the as Deputy Directora,” Milkha instructed PTI.
“We served in the Department for three decades both on the sports side as well as on physical education side. We were great friends. He was very close to me and I feel sad that he is not amongst us now. After Dhyan Chand, if there was any (hockey) legend, it was Balbir Singh senior.”
Also Read | PM Narendra Modi pays wealthy tribute to hockey legend Balbir Singh Senior
Milkha, who missed an Olympic medal by a whisker on the 1960 Games, stated the current technology ought to draw inspiration from the lives of Balbir Singh and Dhyan Chand.
“We did not have facilities but we worked hard and made our country proud. Now, there is every facility, but standard of hockey, athletics, gymnastics has gone down, though we are doing good in some games like badminton, shooting. I feel coming generations should draw inspiration from our lives,” he stated.
Former Indian hockey staff captain Pargat Singh, who can also be sitting Congress MLA from Punjab, additionally expressed disappointment at hockey legend’s demise. Pargat stated he began enjoying hockey due to Balbir Singh play and his passing away is an enormous blow to the sporting world.
“During his playing days people used to talk about his impeccable ball control. He motivated me to play hockey,” stated Pargat.
In a stellar profession, Balbir Singh senior received three Olympic gold medals. The legendary centre-forward was 96 and is survived by his daughter Sushbir and three sons Kanwalbir, Karanbir, and Gurbir. His sons are settled in Canada and he lived in Chandigarh together with his daughter and grandson Kabir.