One of India’s most interesting hockey gamers, a double Olympic gold medallist, Keshav Datt handed away within the early hours on Wednesday. Datt, 95, is survived by two sons and a daughter.
As per his attendant Dolly Bairahi, who had confirmed the information of his dying, his demise was precipitated because of age-related illnesses, as the previous hockey star had not been in the very best of well being for a while.
Born in Lahore in 1925, Datt pursued his lecturers and sports activities on the Government College within the western Punjab metropolis. He was mentored by the legendary Dhyanchand and progressed quickly, enjoying alongside KD Singh Babu. Datt got here into the limelight whereas representing Punjab within the National Championship in pre-Partition India. After independence, he moved to Bombay and later to Calcutta in 1950, representing Bombay and Bengal on the National Championships.
Datt was a member of the Indian hockey group that gained the gold medal on the 1948 London Olympics. Four years later, he was the vice-captain of the Indian group on the Helsinki Games that bagged one other gold medal. For the 1956 Melbourne Olympics although, he opted to skip the occasion as he wasn’t granted go away by his employer Brooke Bond.
“When I was growing up in hockey, Keshav, Balbir (Singh Sr), (Leslie) Claudius and (Randhir Singh) Gentle were heroes for us. He was a great educator,” hockey Olympian and former India captain Gurbux Singh instructed The Indian Express.
“In 1956-57, when I landed in Calcutta, I saw Keshav playing for Mohun Bagan. He was a great centre-half and a thorough gentleman. I played a few matches against him and he was my selector also. Hockey was played on grass in those days and it was a lot more difficult to control the ball and distribute it on that surface. Now on Astro Turf, it’s much easier. Yes, physically it’s more strenuous now but on grass, it was a different ball game,” Singh added. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee condoled Datt’s dying. Tennis star and 1996 Olympic bronze medalist Leander Paes posted a heartfelt condolence message on Twitter.
As a hockey participant, Calcutta Port Commissioners was Datt’s first port of name. Famous Bengali movie actor Jahar Ganguly, then hockey secretary of Mohun Bagan, took him to the green-and-maroons. At Mohun Bagan, Datt gained the Calcutta League six instances and the Beighton Cup thrice. He was extensively thought to be one of the best half-backs in Indian hockey.
Mohun Bagan conferred him with the Mohun Bagan Ratna in 2019.