During this dominance, one name that clearly comes to mind is Balbir Singh. For almost three decades, Indian team had about five players with the same name. The first Balbir Singh played with the great Indian teams of 1948, 1952 and 1956. He reached the pinnacle of success at Helsinki in 1952 when he scored five goals in a 6-1 gold medal victory over the Netherlands. In the photograph above, the person giving the award is the first President of India, Rajendra Prasad, and the first hockey player to receive the Padma Shree is Balbir Singh Sr., in 1957. This honour was given in recognition of India winning its 6th consecutive Olympic hockey gold medal in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics.
Image Courtesy-The Hindu