Chandigarh: Former India cricketer Bishan Singh Bedi tweeted in chorus with Punjab CM Captain Amarinder Singh's suggestion to bestow the Bharat Ratna to Balbir Singh Sr. Tweeting a copy of Captain Amarinder Singh's letter, Bedi appealed to PM Narendra Modi saying that "it will be his greatest contribution to India sports".
Punjab chief minister Amarinder had written to Modi, seeking the country's highest civilian honour " the Bharat Ratna " for hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr. Captain Amarinder, in his letter to PM Modi, called the 95-year-old legend, "an outstanding sportsperson of his era".
"I wish to draw your attention to the subject cited (award of Bharat Ratna to Balbir Sr) and request to award Bharat Ratna to Shri Balbir Singh Sr, one of the most respectful and outstanding sportspersons of India since Independence," wrote Captain Amarinder.
"Shri Balbir Singh has been an outstanding sportsperson in the field of hockey and was part of the Indian team that won gold medals in Olympic games of 1948, 1952 and 1956. He was also the captain of the Indian team in the 1956 Olympics."
"As a recognition to his contribution, Shri Balbir Singh (Sr) has already been awarded the Padma Shri in 1957. I strongly recommend and request you to consider awarding Bharat Ratna to Shri Balbir Singh (Sr)," he further wrote.
Wrote to PM @NarendraModi ji, requesting to award Bharat Ratna to Shri Balbir Singh (Sr) for his outstanding performance in Hockey. He was a 3 time Olympic gold champion having played an imp role in 1948,1952 & Captain of 1956 win. He is the greatest ever centre-forward. pic.twitter.com/h9xPXfxWQo
" Capt.Amarinder Singh (@capt_amarinder) August 22, 2019
One of the country's best sportspersons, Balbir Sr was the only Indian in a list of 16 legends chosen by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) across the modern Olympic history. His world record for most goals scored by an individual in the men's hockey final in an Olympic Games still remains unbeaten. He had scored five goals in India's 6-1 victory over the Netherlands in the gold medal match of the 1952 Helsinki Games. He was also the manager of India's World Cup-winning team in 1975. He was conferred with the Padma Shri in 1957.
The list of Bharat Ratna awardees for this year consisted of three names: former India President Pranab Mukherjee, Assamese singer and music composer Bhupen Hazarika and social activist Nanaji Deshmukh. The last sportsperson to receive the Bharat Ratna was Sachin Tendulkar who received the award in 2014.
With inputs from PTI