Mon, 21 Sep 2020

New Delhi [India], May 25 (ANI): Indian skipper Virat Kohli, batsmen KL Rahul and Suresh Raina expressed grief over the demise of hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr who passed away this morning at the age of 95 after battling multiple health issues in Mohali.

Taking to Twitter Virat wrote, "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."All-rounder Raina said legends never leave they stay alive in the heart of people.

"Legends never truly leave, they live on in the hearts of people. BalbirSingh ji, thank you for the decades of great hockey and for inspiring us. Condolences to the family," he wrote.

The right-handed wicketkeeper-batsman Rahul wrote, "An absolute legend of the game. Balbir Singh Sr Sir, you will be missed. RIP champion."Former India batsman VVS Laxman expressed his heartfelt condolences to the family of the departed soul.

"Sad to hear the news of the passing away of one of our greatest hockey icons, Balbir Singh Sr ji . Heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones," Laxman tweeted.

The veteran hockey player had suffered a cardiac arrest on May 12 and after that, he suffered two more cardiac arrests during the course of his admission in the hospital.

"Balbir Singh passed away this morning," his grandson Kabir said in a statement on Monday.

Balbir Singh Sr was a three-time Olympic gold champion. He played a key role in India's Olympic victories in London (1948), as a vice-captain in Helsinki (1952) and as the captain in Melbourne (1956).

In his illustrious playing career from 1947-1958, Balbir Sr won 61 international caps and scored a whopping 246 goals. He was also the manager of the 1975 World Cup-winning team.

As vice-captain of the team in 1952, he scored a hat-trick against Britain in the semifinals and five of India's goals in its 6-1 win against Holland in the final. It is the record for the most goals in an Olympic Games hockey final.

For Balbir Sr's stellar contribution to the game, he was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian honour in 1957 and was conferred with the Major Dhyan Chand Life Time Achievement Award by Hockey India in 2014.

He also became the only Asian male and only Indian among 16 athletes to be chosen as "Iconic Olympians" by the International Olympic Committee across the modern Olympics' history. (ANI)

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