Chandigarh: In the wake of Major Dhyan Chand’s name being nominated for India’s highest civilian honour – Bharat Ratna, another hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr has made a humble request to bestow upon him the honour in his lifetime.
The 90-year-old hockey veteran, who too like Dhyan Chand has brought 3 Olympic golds(1948, 1952, 1956) to India, feels that he deserves the honour for what he has done for the country. Singh has the Olympic record for most goals scored by an individual in men’s hockey final to his name. The former Indian skipper set this record when he scored 5 goals in India’s 6-1 victory over the Netherlands in the gold medal game of the 1952 Olympic Games.
Balbir Singh Sr, a Padma Shri awardee, doesn’t feel that he has been given the honour he really deserves for his achievements.
But the soft spoken hockey legend is too humble to make a demand and is merely pushing his case forward as a request, saying it does hurt to get the snub but “awards and rewards are prerogative of the government”.
“If my records and achievements as a player, as a captain, as a coach, as a manager and as an administrator are taken into account, then one should get (Bharat Ratna). But I want to state here that it is either up to God or the prerogative of the government,” Balbir told PTI.
“I hope to get (the highest award) and that too in my lifetime,” he added.
However, Balbir Singh’s family has been more vocal, according to them the former captain deserves the Bharat Ratna more than any other sportsperson.