No change in hockey legend Balbir’s condition, still critical

Balbir Singh Sr. is currently undergoing treatment for acute bronchitis.

Balbir Singh Sr.   -  R. V. Moorthy

There is no change on Friday in the condition of hockey legend Balbir Singh Senior who has been kept on ventilator after being admitted to a hospital here due to difficulty in breathing.

The three-time Olympic gold medal winner continued to remain critical and he was under constant observation of the doctors at Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) here.

Singh is currently undergoing treatment for acute bronchitis. He was admitted to PGIMER here on Tuesday after he complained of difficulty in breathing.

“His condition continues to be critical and he remains on ventilator,” a PGIMER official said on Friday.

The legendary centre-forward, who is 94, is being treated at the Respiratory Intensive Care Unit (RICU) of the hospital.

A senior doctor had earlier told PTI that Singh has been kept under constant observation.

“We are monitoring him regularly,” he said.

Singh has been having acute bronchitis and fluctuations in blood pressure, according to the doctors.

Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Rathore had on Thursday wished the legendary player a speedy recovery.

“Wishing the pride of our nation, our hockey legend Shri Balbir Singh Sr. a speedy recovery and good health. Get well soon, sir,” Rathore had tweeted.

Punjab Sports Minister Rana Gurmeet Singh on Friday visited the hospital to inquire about the condition of the legendary player. He said the state government would extend any help required by the family.

“We are with the family (of Singh) at this hour of crisis,” Gurmeet said.

Singh, a former captain, currently lives in Chandigarh with his daughter Sushbir Kaur and maternal grandson Kabir.

He fell ill at his home a few days back. As complications grew, he was admitted to the hospital on Tuesday and his condition deteriorated since Wednesday.

One of the country’s tallest athletes, Singh became the only Indian among 16 legends chosen by the International Olympic Committee across the 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 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 conferred with the Padma Shri in 1957 and was also the manager of India’s World Cup-winning team in 1975.

Less than two months ago, Singh attended a function at Chandigarh Press Club on the occasion of 70 years of India’s first Olympic hockey victory in London in 1948. He went down the memory lane and said he was overwhelmed by a sense of patriotism after that triumph.

Singh was a member of three Olympic gold medal-winning teams in London (1948), Helsinki (1952), and Melbourne (1956 as captain).

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