Balbir Singh Junior, who was part of the Indian hockey team that won silver at the 1958 Asian Games, has passed away at the age of 88.
The hockey great played alongside the likes of Balbir Singh Dosanjh, popularly known as Balbir Singh Senior, as well as Leslie Claudius, Prithipal Singh, Balkishan and Charles Stephen, among others. He breathed his last on Sunday morning.
Singh comes from Sansarpur in Jalandhar, Punjab. Like many children from the village, he too took to hockey early in his life at the age of six. He was selected to play for India in 1951 when the national team toured Afghanistan.
He was also part of the Punjab state hockey team and captained the Punjab University squad. Later in his profession, he also represented the Indian Railways hockey team that explored European countries such as Spain, Switzerland and Italy. They also played Test matches in the Netherlands.
He is survived by his wife, daughter and son. “My father passed away in sleep on Sunday morning due to heart failure,” his daughter said. His son is settled in Canada and could not attend the last rites of his father because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On behalf of Hockey India, I express my deepest condolences to Balbir Singh Junior’s family. His contribution to Indian hockey will always be remembered and the hockey fraternity mourns his demise,” said Hockey India president Gyanendro Ningombam. Punjab Governor VP Singh Badnore, who is also Administrator Union Territory Chandigarh, expressed condolences at the passing of the hockey player.