Hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr. remains critical

Chandigarh, Oct 4:

Three-time Olympic gold medal winning hockey legend Balbir Singh Senior continued to remain critical after being admitted to a hospital here due to difficulty in breathing.

The legendary centre-forward, who is 94, is being treated at the Respiratory Intensive Care Unit (RICU) of Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research here and his condition was described as “critical” by the doctors attending to him.

A senior doctor told PTI on Thursday evening that Singh has been kept on ventilator and under constant observation.

“He has been kept on ventilator and we are monitoring him regularly,” he said.

Singh has been having acute bronchitis and fluctuations in blood pressure, according to the doctor.

Earlier, another doctor had said that an endotracheal tube has been inserted into his trachea.

“The purpose of endotracheal intubation is to permit air to pass freely to and fro from the lungs,” the doctor said.

Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore wished the legendary player’s speedy recovery.

“Wishing the pride of our nation, our hockey legend Shri Balbir Singh Sr. A speedy recovery and good health. Get well soon, sir,” Rathore tweeted.

In Punjab and Haryana, famous for producing great hockey players, fans prayed for Singh’s speedy recovery.

“Balbir Sr. Sir is our nation’s pride. He has given so much to the sport and above all he is a true patriot. I wish and pray that he gets well soon,” said Gurbaj Singh, an ardent fan from Jalandhar.

“Ever since I heard the news about his poor health in the morning, I have been praying to God to make him better soon,” said Bimla Kumari, a fan from Shahbad in Haryana.

Singh, a former captain, currently lives in Chandigarh with his daughter Sushbir Kaur and maternal grandson Kabir.

The legendary player fell ill at his home a few days back. As complications grew, he was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday and his condition deteriorated since Wednesday.

One of the country’s tallest athletes, Singh became the only Indian among 16 legends chosen by the International Olympic Committee across the 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 and was also the manager of India’s World Cup-winning team in 1975.

Less than two months ago, Singh attended a function at Chandigarh Press Club on the occasion of 70 years of India’s first Olympic hockey victory in London in 1948. He went down the memory lane and said he was overwhelmed by a sense of patriotism after that triumph.

“The event happened 70 years ago, but it feels like only yesterday. I still remember the feeling when the Indian flag was hoisted at the 1948 Olympics when we beat Britain 4-0,” Singh had said on that occasion.

Singh was a member of three Olympic gold medal winning teams in London (1948), Helsinki (1952), and Melbourne (1956 as captain). PTI


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