Balbir Singh


The Wolves of Cernogratz were clearly howling during the night, as Indian sporting legend Balbir Singh has actually died. Back in the pre-colour TV days, Singh was part of the Indian field hockey team which won the Olympic Gold at three straight Olympic Games, in 1948, 1952 and 1956. The team also won the silver medal at the 1958 Asian Games, which must have felt like a disappointment. Later on he became chief coach of the men’s team, and led them to 3rd place in the 1971 men’s hockey world cup (yes, it exists), and the 1975 World Cup, which he won. In the field of hockey he was regarded as the best male player of the 20th Century, and his Olympic records in the sport remain unbeaten.

He had apparently kept in good health with regular exercises and running until the age of 94 when in October 2018, he had a massive heart attack. And got better. Then he suffered acute respiratory failure in November 2018, spending a month in ICU. And got better, leaving ICU in November. He was discharged in January having recovered from a stroke, a heart attack and respiratory failure. And then he went back into hospital with heart problems. And got better. So he became dependent on oxygen, but got better. Well enough to win a Lifetime Achievement Award from his hospital bed in fact. And then he was bedridden, but recovered to walk again.

Then he suffered more lung problems, but made a full recovery. And then he spent 14 days on life support with pneumonia, but got better. And then he got savaged by a tiger during his magic show, but got better. And then he set himself on fire accidentally during one of his drug hazes, but got better. And he jumped off the Hollywoodland sign, overdosed on Polish absinthe on a junket abroad and died in a car crash on his way home from winning a Mathematics prize. But got better. And then he got stalked in his dreams by Drolly Krueger but got better. And then an asteroid landed on his hospital bed, killing everyone on the planet but leaving him unharmed.

So his hospitalisation in May 2020, brought on by cardiac arrest, multiple organ failure, more heart attacks, lung problems, and yet more heart attacks… only brought another recovery in his health. But just as he was kicking out at the two count, the Reaper has hit him with one final Big Heart Attack, and this time Singh was beaten. Even Hulk Hogan jobbed to an opponent he didn’t like with more enthusiasm. David Meltzer is already claiming Singh buried the Reaper in their PPV showdown.

Only one person thought he was going to die on the DDP, as you can well understand. Eight scarcely believable points for Belmont-Cragin Reaper.

Balbir Singh
10 October 1924 – 25 May 2020
unique pick