Former Indian cricketer and present head coach of the team, Ravi Shastri, team skipper Virat Kohli along with veteran cricketers Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble piad tribute to three-time Olympic medal-winning hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr, who passed away at 95 on Monday.
The hockey great passed away at a private hospital on Monday morning after battling multiple health issues over the last few weeks.
"#BalBirSingh ji- A True Giant and a half in his field. Hockey legend out and out. Condolences," Ravi Shastri wrote on Twitter.
Kohli tweeted, "Saddened to hear about the passing of the legend, Balbir Singh Sr. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family in this time of sorrow. @BalbirSenior."
Saddened to hear about the passing of the legend, Balbir Singh Sr. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family in this time of sorrow. 🙏🏼 @BalbirSenior— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) May 25, 2020
"A doyen of Indian sports Shri Balbir Singh Senior is no more. When you look back at his achievements,you just remain awestruck 3 olympic gold medals,five goals in Olympic final. Manager of the World Cup-winning team. Possibly among India's greatest sporting icons. May his soul rest RIP," tweeted Harbhajan.
A doyen of Indian sports Shri Balbir Singh Senior is no more. When you look back at his achievements,you just remain awestruck— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) May 25, 2020
3 olympic gold medals,five goals in Olympic final.
Manager of World Cup winning team
Possibly among India's greatest sporting icons.May his soul rest RIP pic.twitter.com/duSN1LvRWH
Meanwhile, former cricketers Kumble and Bishan Singh Bedi also offered their condolences.
Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Balbir Singh Sr ji. An athlete par excellence and a role model beyond words! His bestowed hands may strengthen my passions more. My condolences to his family, friends and fans!#balbirsingh #Balbirhockey pic.twitter.com/figkm8ibBW— P.T. USHA (@PTUshaOfficial) May 25, 2020
Balbir was undergoing treatment at Fortis Mohali and was in a "semi-comatose condition". He was hospitalised on May 8 with high fever and breathing trouble. But, his COVID-19 test had come negative.
In January last year, he was discharged from PGI after spending more than 100 days in the hospital, where he underwent treatment for bronchial pneumonia.
Balbir was part of the Indian teams that won gold at the 1948 London Olympics, Helsinki 1952 and Melbourne 1956.
His record for most individual goals scored in an Olympic men's hockey final remains unbeaten. Balbir had set this record when he scored five goals in India's 6-1 win over the Netherlands in the gold medal match of the 1952 Games.
He was the head coach of the Indian team for the 1975 men's World Cup, which India won and the 1971 men's World Cup, where India earned a bronze medal. He was also conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri in 1957.
(with IANS inputs)