Hockey India to pursue Leslie's quest for lost gold medals

Legendary Olympian Leslie Claudius can heave a sigh of relief as Hockey India (HI) will be pursuing his request to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) of providing him with replicas of his four Olympic medals, including three gold that were stolen from his Kolkata residence.

HI secretary-general Narinder Batra told IANS Tuesday that he has asked Olympian and former India captain Gurbux Singh to furnish the details so that he can take up the matter with the IOC and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

The issue was raised by Gurbux, who is also the secretary-general of Bengal Hockey Association (BHA) during a meeting of HI. "We have asked Gurbux-ji to provide us with the details and copies of letters written to the IOC and the IOA. Leslie Claudius is a legend and it is a matter of the country. We will take up the matter immediately. In fact we are even ready to bear the cost of the replica medals," said Batra.

Claudius had won three gold medals in London (1948), Helsinki (1952) and Melbourne (1956) and the silver in Rome (1960).  Claudius, along with his team mate Udham Singh enjoy the rare distinction of being in the Guinness Book of World Records (now Guinness Book of World Records)for having won the maximum number of Olympic medals in field hockey.

But the 85-year-old Claudius lost all those golden memories since the medals were stolen from his residence decades ago. Gurbux said that in the past there have been cases when IOC has provided sportspersons, whose medals were stolen or misplaced, with replicas for payment.

“Earlier there have been instances that a gold medal of a particular person was replaced on a certain payment. I think it is high time for us to get the medals back for Leslie,” said Gurbux.

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