Seventy years after Independent India won their first Olympic gold in hockey in London defeating Britain, living legend Balbir Singh Sr. on Sunday went down the memory lane and said he was overwhelmed by a sense of patriotism after the triumph.
“The event happened 70 years ago, but it still remembers the feeling when the India flag was hoisted at the 1948 Olympics when we beat Britain 4-0. As our national anthem was being played and the tri-color was going up, I felt that I too was flying with the flag. The sense of patriotism that I felt is beyond any other feeling in the world,” Balbir Sr, the 94-year-old triple Olympic gold medallist reminisced.
Balbir Sr, who began as a goalkeeper before moving up as a full-back and eventually a center-forward, said that the win was special as it came against India’s once colonial masters, who had ruled until a year back then.
The victorious team had received a grand Welcome from the Indian fans on returning home.
A commemorative function was organized at the Chandigarh Press Club on the day to mark the event when the tri-color was hoisted for the first time on this day in 1948 at London’s Wembley Stadium. India had defeated Britain to win the Olympic gold in men’s hockey, a win in which Balbir Sr played a leading role by scoring two goals.
He recalled that despite being in tremendous form, he was not selected among the 39 Probables for the finals in 1948 and some of his well-wishers even approached the then Indian High Commissioner in London, V.K Krishna Menon and sought his help.
From online sources