Hockey icon Balbir Sr tests COVID negative, remains critical

Hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr tested negative for coronavirus on Sunday, but his condition remained critical.

Balbir Singh

Balbir Singh Sr, a triple Olympic gold medallist, was admitted to Mohali's Fortis hospital on Friday evening. His condition remains critical. (File Image)   -  R. V. MOORTHY

Hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr tested negative for coronavirus but his condition remained critical on Sunday.

“His COVID-19 report is negative,” the 96-year-old’s maternal grandson, Kabir told PTI.

Balbir Sr, a triple Olympic gold medallist, was admitted to Fortis hospital in Mohali on Friday. He was running a high fever on Thursday night.

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“His condition is still critical as he continues to remain on ventilator. Even though he is slightly better than what he was upon admission, he is not yet stable,” Kabir said.

Balbir Sr was taken to the private hospital from his residence in Sector 36 in Chandigarh, where he lives with his daughter Sushbir and Kabir.

In January last year, Balbir Sr was discharged from PGIMER, Chandigarh after spending 108 days in the hospital, where he underwent treatment for bronchial pneumonia.

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“It is an unparalleled achievement and credit to his grit that he could recover at the age of 95 from the scenario of bronchial pneumonia and near cardiac failure that he was initially admitted with,” professor Jagat Ram, Director PGIMER had then said when the former India captain was discharged.

During the 2012 London Olympics, the iconic centre forward was honoured as the only Indian among 16 chosen Olympic legends across modern Olympic history.

His world record for most goals scored by an individual in the men’s hockey final of the Olympics still remains unbeaten. He scored five goals in India’s 6-1 victory over the Netherlands in the gold medal match of the 1952 Helsinki Games.

He was conferred with the Padma Shri in 1957 and was also manager of India’s only World Cup winning team in 1975.

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