Chandigarh: Interesting facts have come to light in a soon-to-be-released Punjabi biography of hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr with the writer claiming to have traced the nonagenarian's lineage to famous Sikh warrior Baba Bidhi Chand.
The biography of the 91-year-old iconic centre forward has been written in Punjabi by Toronto-based Principal Sarwan Singh and is likely to be released by Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal soon.
According to Balbir Singh Sr's daughter, Sushbir Bhomia, the book is very well researched.
"An interesting fact which has come to light is that the writer has traced my father's lineage to famous Sikh warrior Baba Bidhi Chand ji, who served the sixth Sikh Guru Hargobind ji," she told PTI here.
Baba Bidhi Chand was an excellent horse rider and even Balbir Sr has told his biographer, who has 37 books on different subjects to his credit, that horse riding came naturally to him.
"The writer mentions in the book that like Baba Bidhi Chand ji proved his mettle as a warrior, Balbir Sr showed that strength on the hockey ground," she said.
Balbir Sr, who served Punjab Police force before finally retiring as Director of Punjab's Sports Department in 1982, won gold medals at the 1948 (London), 1952 (Helsinki) and 1956 (Melbourne) Olympics.
His 1952 record of most goals (five) in an Olympic final still stands and he also figures in the list of 16 iconic Olympians of all-time.
The writer mentions that he started to write the book in 2013 when the hockey legend's namesake approached him with the Sr's photo telling him that it had been mistakenly posted at his Dosanjh village address in Jalandhar.
"An Indian fan of my father who lived in England had posted the photograph at the Dosanjh address (native village of Sr) as he wanted an autograph on the picture. However, the mail was mistakenly received by a namesake of my father who then approached the writer whom he knew.
"It was at that point in time that Principal Sarwan Singh started to write the biography though he told my dad that he had firmed up his mind to write about him much earlier," Sushbir said.
The writer shares many other interesting details about the life of the legend.
The biography tells how Balbir Sr had to spend his childhood living with his relatives from the maternal side since his father Sardar Dalip Singh used to be in and out of the jails being a freedom fighter.
He later studied in Moga, where he started playing hockey. Singh was later spotted by Harbail Singh, who was also coach of the team's 1952 and 1956 Olympics.
Meanwhile, Sushbir said that she has also started writing a biography on the legend in English and is likely to complete it by next year.
Another biography in Hindi is also being penned by a Delhi-based writer, she informed.
Sushbir lamented that despite Sr's achievements, no award has been named by Hockey India after him, though in March this year, he was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural Hockey India Awards in Delhi.
"He decided to donate the amount to Balbir Foundation, which will be used for the promotion of hockey in the country," she said.