India’s one of finest hockey players, a double Olympic gold medalist Keshav Datt passed away in the early hours on Wednesday. His attendant Dolly Bairagi confirmed the news of his death. Datt, 95, is survived by his two sons and a daughter.
The reason for his death, as mentioned by his attendant, was age-related ailments. The nonagenarian former hockey star wasn’t keeping well for the last few days. His body will be kept at Peace Heaven for a few days.
Born in Lahore in 1925, Datt did his education and sports at the Government College, in the western Punjab city. He was mentored by the legendary Dhyanchand and KD Singh Babu. Datt came into the limelight while representing Punjab in the National Championship in undivided India. After Partition he came to Bombay and then moved to Calcutta in 1950. He represented Bombay and Bengal in the National Championships as well.
The world of hockey lost one of its true legends today. Saddened at the passing away of Keshav Datt. He was a double Olympic gold medal winner, 1948 and 1952. A champion of India and Bengal. Condolences to his family and friends.
— Mamata Banerjee (@MamataOfficial) July 7, 2021
Datt was a member of the Indian hockey team that won the gold medal at the 1948 London Olympics. Four years later, he was the vice-captain of the Indian team at Helsinki and bagged another gold. Datt opted out of the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, as he had professional commitments to keep with his employer Brooke Bond.
As a hockey player, Calcutta Port Commissioners was Datt’s first port of call. Famous Bengali film actor Jahar Ganguly, then hockey secretary of Mohun Bagan, took him to the green-and-maroons. At Mohun Bagan, Datt won the Calcutta League six times and the Beighton Cup thrice. He was widely regarded as one of the finest half-backs in Indian hockey.
Mohun Bagan conferred him with the Mohun Bagan Ratna award in 2019.