Chandigarh: With Major Dhyan Chand's name finally being nominated for the Bharat Ratna, another hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr feels he too deserves the country's highest civilian award and hopes to get the recognition in his lifetime.
Balbir Singh Sr
Three-time Olympic gold medallist Balbir looks back with satisfaction at his long tryst with the game but feels he has not got the honour he deserves.
The gentle and soft-spoken Balbir, who has only got Padma Shri for his efforts, said the snub does hurt but "awards and rewards are prerogative of the government".
"If my records and achievements as a player, as a captain, as a coach, as a manager and as an administrator are taken into account, then I should get (Bharat Ratna).
But I want to state here that it is either up to God or the prerogative of the government," Balbir, widely regarded as world's greatest centre forward, told PTI.
"I hope to get (the highest award) and that too in my lifetime," he added.
Balbir's family, meanwhile, said that he deserved the Bharat Ratna more than an other sportsperson.
"He has created world history. I want the Narendra Modi government to do justice this time. Let the system be transparent. If a legend can be ignored, what will be the fate of an average sportsperson?" Balbir's daughter Sushbir Kaur said.
"Here is a person who is waiting for 62 years to get his due. When it comes to awards and rewards, some other people walk away with it. I want justice. I hope, wish and pray that they give justice during his lifetime," she added.