Asian Games gold medallist athlete and Dhyan Chand award winner Hakam Singh Bhattal, who was suffering from a prolonged illness, passed away on Tuesday morning. He was 64. He had been battling serious liver and kidney ailments and had been hospitalised since days many in Sangrur. Also Read - Ministry Invites Application For National Sports Awards Through E-Mail
Recently, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh had ordered a release of Rs. 5 lakh for his treatment. Also Read - Former Olympic Gold Medallist Hardayal Singh Passes Away
Before that, Sports Minister Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore had also announced a relief fund of Rs 10 lakh for his treatment. Rathore’s response had come after Bhattal’s wife had spoken about how the government does not value athletes. “We are poor people and the government should at least help those who get laurels for the nation,” she had told ANI. Also Read - Zeeshan Ali, Gurmail Singh, K.P Thakkar nominated for Dhyan Chand Award
Bhattal was admitted to a hospital in Sangrur on July 29 this year. His family was finding the situation difficult as they have did not receive any help from the government.
Bhattal had won a gold medal in the men’s 20km walk in the 1978 Bangkok Asian Games. He also won a gold in the Asian Track and Field Meeting held in Tokyo in 1979.
The former athlete, who had also served as havaldar in the 6 Sikh Regiment, was conferred the Dhyan Chand Award in 2008. A near-fatal accident in 1981 had forced him to hang up his boots, marking an abrupt end to an illustrious sports career.