Written by Angella Semu

India’s three-times Olympic gold medalist Balbir Singh dies at 95

India’s three-times Olympic hockey champion, Balbir Singh has died at the age of 95 following prolonged pulmonary illness.

Hockey India president Mohammed Mushtaque Ahmad made the announcement on Monday, May 25 in a statement.

Ahmad who described Singh as the ‘guiding light’ in Olympics in the country disclosed that the 95-year old legend had been fighting a pulmonary illness over the last two years and he was hospitalised on May 8 after complaining of high fever and breathing problems.

He had been stable since May 13 but worsened on May 18 after fresh blood clot was detected in his brain and pneumonia patches in his lungs and had been on life support since then.

Before his demise, Singh suffered multiple cardiac arrests and multi-organ failure.

A report by reuters revealed that Singh won three Olympic hockey golds for India and became one of his country’s biggest sporting heroes.

Him and his teammates won the Olympic title in London in 1948 and Helsinki in 1952 and led the side that won in Melbourne in 1956. His five goals in the 6-1 defeat of the Netherlands in 1952 remained a record for an Olympic final.

After his retirement, Singh coached the Indian team which won the World Cup in 1975 and his last public appearance was at the Times of India Sports Awards (TOISA) on March 5, 2020.

He has left behind a daughter Sushbir and three sons Kanwalbir Singh, Karanbir Singh and Gurbir Singh and a state funeral is expected to be held in his hometown Chandigarh at the sector 25 electric crematorium.

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