New Delhi: As the clamour for Sachin
Tendulkar to be bestowed with the country`s highest civilian
award -- the Bharat Ratna -- grows louder, former hockey
Olympians felt that legendary Dhyanchand deserves it more than
the batting icon.
Emphasising upon the achievements of the legendary hockey
player, national selector Col Balbir Singh said that
Dhayanchand was the all time best which the sport has seen
and should have been graced with the honour many years before.
"In my opinion Dhyanchand should have received this award
many years back. He is the most deserving sportsperson to get
it and there is no second opinion about it," Balbir told reporters
Bhasha from Jalandhar.
Veteran Zafar Iqbal, who was a part of the Indian hockey
team that won the last of eight gold medals in Moscow,
agreed with Balbir and insisted that Dhyanchand`s contribution
is huge keeping in mind the global reach of the sport in
comparison to cricket.
Comparing the achievements of the two greats Iqbal said,
"Tendulkar has won just one World cup while Dhyanchand was
instrumental in India`s gold medal finish in three Olympics --
1928 Amsterdam, 1932 Los Angeles and 1936 Berlin."
The member of 1975 Kuala Lumpur World Cup-winning Indian
team, Aslam Sher Khan said that there is no official record of
the number of goals Dhyanchand has scored but that does not
undermine his contribution.
"There is no official record of his goals. In hockey, it
is almost impossible to find record of goals whereas in
cricket you have a proper system of keeping records. Nobody
actually knows how many international goals Dhyanchand
scored," Khan emphasised.
"Cricket has become big because of glamour and money
attached with it. But if the consideration is for Bharat Ratna
then you cannot ignore a player who brought laurels to the
country while going through a financial turmoil.”
"Sachin is a very good person and the best cricketer
India has ever produced but if any sportsperson is considered
for Bharat Ratna, Dhyanchand is miles ahead," he added.
Dhayanchand is the only hockey player to have been
awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1956.