(Last Updated on : 25/01/2011)
Kunwar Digvijay Singh was one of India's best hockey players, active during the best years of Indian hockey. He captained the Indian side sent to the 1952 Olympics, which India won. His contributions to the game of hockey earned him the Padmashri, India's fourth highest civilian honour.
Early life of K.D. Singh
Kunwar Digvijay Singh was born on 2nd February 1922 in Barabanki to father Raibahadur Thakur Shri Raghunath Singh, who was a well-known social worker, learned lawyer and tennis player of the town. He excelled both on the field and in the classroom, and his outstanding performances in hockey led him to be equated with the game.
Career of K.D. Singh
From the hockey tournament held at Dewa Mela, 'Babu' started his sports career. In the year 1938 he took participation in a tournament held at Delhi. In that tournament, he circumvented Mohammed Hussain and scored goals. After that incident he got lots of coverage in the newspapers, as Mohammed Hussain was the then very famous hockey Olympian. He went to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) in the year1946 after the World War II as a member of the Indian hockey team. In the year1947, with the Indian hockey team he toured British East Africa (Kenya), Uganda, Tanzania. At that time the Indian National hockey team was captained by another great hockey maestro Dhyan Chand. The team scored 200 goals in this tournament and K.D.Singh 'Babu' scored 70 of them, which is highest by any player in the team.
For the first time in the year 1948, K.D.Singh 'Babu' was selected in the Indian national hockey team for the Olympics. Kishanlal was appointed as captain and 'Babu' as vice-captain. As an Independent nation, India won their first Olympic hockey gold. In the year 1949, he was made the captain of the Indian team. At this year he had netted 99 goals out of 236 goals scored, which is the maximum goals by any member of the team at that time. For the 1952 Helsinki Olympics Games, K.D.Singh 'Babu' was made the captain of the Indian Olympic Hockey team. At that tournament also the team under his captaincy won another Olympic Hockey Gold medal. Thereafter, in other forms to the game of Hockey, he continued to serve them. In the year 1960, acknowledging his outstanding contribution, the Indian Government conferred one of the highest civilian awards, the Padamshri award. In 1972, Indian Hockey Federation made him the coach of the Indian hockey team for the 1972 Munich Olympics. The pride of the nation, K.D.Singh 'Babu'But, on 27th March 1978 committed suicide.