Mohali, May 26: Legendary and three-time Olympic gold medalist Balbir Singh Senior who breathed his last at the age of 96 was cremated with state honors on Monday.
It was announced that the Mohali Stadium will be named after Balbir Singh. It was announced by Punjab Sports Minister Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi was also in attendance at the funeral.
"Definitely, we will do it. He is the biggest name in the world of hockey. The Chief Minister (Captain Amarinder Singh) will make the announcement in this regard," Sodhi told reporters.
Sodhi added later that Padma Shri awardee will be honored with the prestigious Bharat Ratna Award and stated that Punjab Chief Minister has already written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for it.
"The Chief Minister has already written a letter to the Prime Minister. I hope this will be done at the earliest. This should have happened when he was alive, but the central government did not pay attention to it. He truly deserves this and he will get the Bharat Ratna Award," the minister said.
Singh had been admitted to the hospital due to pneumonia and was on ventilator support. He was a key contributor in Indian Hockey Team as he was part of India's wins in the 1948 London Olympics, 1952 Helsinki Olympics in which he was the vice-captain, and 1956 Melbourne Olympics as captain. He became the first recipient of the Padma Shri award in the sports category in 1957 due to an immense contribution to the national sport.
Later on, he was also a part of the Indian hockey team that won the silver medal at the 1958 Asian Games.
As a coach and manager, he guided the Indian team in eight tournaments who stood on the podium every single time. The victories included a gold medal at the 1966 Asian Games, bronze at the 1971 World Cup, bronze at 1982 Champions Trophy, and silver at 1982 Asian Games.