Balkrishan Singh

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Balkrishan Singh

Born: 10 March 1933

Died: 31 December 2004

  • He was a field hockey player from India who won the gold medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics.
  • He is perhaps the only player in the country to have won the gold medal both as a player and as a coach.
  • He was a member of the gold medal-winning team in the 1956 Olympics and was chief coach of the team that won the gold in the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
  • He went to Australia in 1965 to train the women’s national squad.
  • Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser was so impressed with him that he went on record praising his coaching abilities.
  • He was the first coach to experiment with the concept of total hockey in India.
  • He first put this concept into use during the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
  • Total hockey, in his view, was hockey which should be played like basketball — attack together and defend together.
  • He is hockey’s first-ever player-coach.
  • In him, one could easily traverse through the vicissitude of Independent India’s hockey history.
  • More so, the twice Olympic medallist (1956 gold, 1960 silver) is the lone Olympian to coach four Olympic teams.
  • He was the first Indian coach to adopt the 4-4-2-1 style.
  • He metamorphosed the unique Indian traits in the concept of total hockey which earned him many laurels in the 80s.

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