2 of India’s 1980 Olympic hockey gold medallists battling for life

Maharaj Krishan Kaushik and Ravindra Pal Singh, stalwarts of India’s 1980 Olympics gold-winning hockey team, are battling for their lives in hospitals after Covid-19 affected them. Kaushik is serious as the doctor has said the next 24 hours, ending Friday afternoon, are ‘critical’.

While 66-year-old Kaushik is admitted to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of a private hospital in New Delhi, 62-year-old Singh has fortunately come out of the Covid’s grip in Lucknow. But Singh needs constant supply of oxygen as he is feeling depressed and has anxiety. On Thursday evening, Singh was finally shifted to a non-Covid ward of the same hospital, Vivekananda Polyclinic.

“The doctor has said that the next 24 hours, ending around 2 pm on Friday, are very critical. He said that if my father doesn’t react to the medicines, there are chances that his body may collapse. He now needs all the prayers in the world,” Eshan, son of Kaushik, told IANS on Thursday.

Kaushik’s wife, who was also affected by Covid, is also admitted in the same hospital and is recovering. “She is better now and would, hopefully, be discharged in a few days,” said Eshan.

In Lucknow, Singh’s niece Pragya said that the family and some people in the hockey fraternity have been searching for an oxygen bed.

“Mama [Singh] has recovered from Covid. But, as the doctor said, he has anxiety and is feeling depressed. So he needs a good and constant supply of oxygen after he is moved out of his Covid bed. He has now been shifted to a non-Covid ward in emergency, for the time being,” Pragya, whose family members have recovered from Covid, told IANS.

“Generally speaking, the medical situation in Lucknow is very poor. Hardly any beds, oxygen and oxygen cylinders are available here. Some hockey players like [former India player] Rajneesh Mishra bhayya, have helped mama,” she said.

Mishra pointed out that a hockey connection worked for Singh.

“The PRO of Vivekananda Polyclinic, Vishal Singh, is the brother of former hockey international Praveen. He played a crucial role in getting Ravindra bhai a non-Covid in the hospital,” he said.

Pragya said that doctors have said that if her uncle makes a little extra effort, it would help in his recovery. “His lungs were infected, so breathing is crucial. Doctors are saying that he can recover faster if makes an effort,” she pointed out.

Kaushik, an outside-right wearing jersey No.10, scored in India’s 4-3 win over Spain in the final of the 1980 Olympic Games in Moscow. Singh, who wore jersey No.7, was in the same XI that brought glory to India.