Chandigarh [India], May 26 (ANI): Legendary hockey player Balbir Singh Senior, who passed away at the age of 95, was cremated with state honours on Monday.
Punjab Sports Minister Rana Gurmeet Singh Sodhi was also present at the funeral and announced that the Mohali Stadium will be named after Balbir Singh.
"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 when asked if the Mohali stadium will be named after the legendary hockey player.
Sodhi also said Balbir Singh will be conferred with Bharat Ratna Award and stated that Punjab Chief Minister has already written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the same.
"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.
Balbir Singh was a three-time Olympic gold-medal winning champion. He played a key role in India's Olympic victories in London (1948), as a vice-captain in Helsinki (1952) and as the captain in Melbourne (1956).
In his illustrious playing career from 1947-1958, Balbir Singh won 61 international caps and scored a whopping 246 goals.
As vice-captain of the team in 1952, he scored a hat-trick against Britain in the semifinals and five of India's goals in its 6-1 win against Holland in the final. It is a record for the most goals in an Olympic Games hockey final.
Balbir Singh was also the manager of the 1975 World Cup-winning team and was named as one of the 16 iconic Olympians by the International Olympic Committee in 2012.
For Balbir Singh's stellar contribution to the game, he was awarded the Padma Shri, India's fourth-highest civilian honour in 1957 and was conferred with the Major Dhyan Chand Life Time Achievement Award by Hockey India in 2014. (ANI)