Balbir Singh Sr, one of India's greatest hockey players who won three Olympic gold medals in a stellar career, died at a hospital in Mohali on Monday after battling multiple health issues for over two weeks. The legendary center-forward was 96 and is survived by his daughter Sushbir and three sons Kanwalbir, Karanbir, and Gurbir. After his sad demise, Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar expressed grief by sharing a photo on Twitter and called him an 'amazing personality.' He had met the Hockey player during the shooting of the 2018 film Gold which was based on India's first Olympic gold win.
Akshay tweeted, "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."
Have a look:
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— Akshay Kumar (@akshaykumar) May 25, 2020
Mouni Roy acted opposite Akshay Kumar in the film Gold which was directed by Reema Kagti who said that her film is a "fictional take on what actually happened."
Talking about Balbir Singh Sr, he was one of the country's most accomplished athletes and was the only Indian among 16 legends chosen by the International Olympic Committee across modern Olympic history. His world record for most goals scored by an individual in the men's hockey final of the Olympics still remains unbeaten. He had scored five goals in India's 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. That was the first time an athlete was conferred the prestigious civillian honour. Singh's three Olympic gold medals came in London (1948), Helsinki (1952) as vice-captain, and Melbourne (1956) as captain. He was also the manager of India's only World Cup-winning side in 1975.
-With PTI inputs
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