Balbir Singh Dosanjh was perhaps the most respected Hockey Olympian from India after Dhyan Chand. The Legendary figure in Indian Field Hockey has had a hat-trick of gold medal appearances at the Summer Olympic Games, like Dhyan Chand. What was different between the two greats was the fact that while Dhyan Chand played for British ruled India, Balbir Singh led India to Olympic Gold three times since the independence. Here are a few facts about Balbir Singh Dosanjh:
Balbir Singh Dosanjh: the journey
1. Balbir Singh was born on December 31, 1923 at Haripur Khalsa.
2. Balbir Singh Dosanjh was considered the greatest center-forward in field hockey. He was later on called Balbir Singh Senior to avoid confusion among the many Balbir Singhs of Indian Hockey.
3. Balbir Singh was married to Sushil Singh in 1946 and the couple had four children: daughter Sushbir, and sons: Kanwalbir, Karanbir, Gurbir.
5. Balbir Singh Dosanjh starred in Independent India’s second Olympic Gold medal. This was the 5th Olympic Gold medal India had won overall.
6. Balbir Singh’s 5 goals in the 1952 Helsinki Summer Games final is the most by any field hockey player. This record is added in the Guinness world records.
7. Balbir Singh was the flag-bearer of the Olympic Contingent of India at the Helsinki 1952 Summer Games.
10. Balbir Singh had scored 22 goals from 8 matches across the three Olympics.
11. In 1957, the Government of India honored Balbir Singh with Padma Shri. He was the first Padma awardee from sports.
12. He was part of the Silver-medal winning Indian team at the Asian Games 1958.
13. In 1962, Balbir Singh donated his Olympic medals for the India-China war fund in presence of the then CM of Punjab, Partap Singh Kairon.
14. In 1975, Balbir Singh Senior was the Chief Coach/Manager of the team that won FIH World Cup. This is, by far, the only FIH World Cup India won.
15. In 2015, Hockey India conferred him with Major Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award.
16. Balbir Singh Dosanjh was awarded the “Icon of the Century” at the Times of India Sports Awards.
18. He left for heavenly abode on May 25, 2020.
19. He wrote his autobiography “The Golden Hat-Trick” which sums up his journey in field hockey.
These were some of the amazing facts, some known, others unknown to Hockey lovers. We thought this as the best way to celebrate the birth anniversary of the great field hockey player.
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