On the first death anniversary of three-time Olympic gold medalist Balbir Singh Sr., the Punjab government announced that the Mohali International Hockey Stadium would be renamed after him.
The noted figure died last year on May 25 at the age of 96. In his remembrance, Punjab Sports Minister Rana Gurmit Singh Sodhi officially announced the decision of renaming the stadium as a tribute to his achievements. He also said that once the pandemic situation eases, the state government is planning to conduct an International Hockey tournament at the stadium celebrating Singh’s triumphant sports journey.
Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh also tweeted to the hockey great’s reminiscence. “Fondly remember legendary hockey player Padma Shri Balbir Singh Senior. On his first death anniversary today, Mohali International Hockey stadium is being dedicated to him,” said he on the social media platform.
The iconic athlete won three golds in London (1948), as vice-captain in Helsinki (1952) and as captain in Melbourne (1956) Olympics. To date, his world record to score a maximum number of goals by an individual in the Olympics final remains unbeaten. In the victorious match of Helsinki in 1952, India won Gold against the Netherlands by 6-1, 5 claimed by Balbir Singh himself, the single record is still unbroken.
In 1957 he was honoured with Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India. The hockey legend also served as Director, Sports Department, Punjab. In the year 2019, he was awarded the Maharaja Ranjit Singh Award by the Government of Punjab.
State Sports Minister also announced that the dedicated Department would start a scholarship in the name of Balbir Singh Sr. to be given to the outstanding achievers of the state.