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Claudius laid to rest in presence of teammates, dignitaries

December 23, 2012 17:28 IST

Olympians and dignitaries of the state government today bid their final adieus to legendary hockey player Leslie Claudius whose mortal remains were laid to rest at the Lower Circular Road Cemetery in Kolkata.

Claudius' last journey began at 10.50am from the Peace Haven and the first stop was his club, Customs Tent where his former teammate Keshav Dutt of the 1948 and 1952 Olympic-winning team paid his last homage.

The procession then went through Veteran's Club before reaching Rabindra Sadan where the body was kept for more than one hour for public veneration.

Olympians, Bir Bahadur Chhetri, Chuni Goswami, Samar Banerjee and Tulasi Balaram were among others who were present during the occasion even as Chief minister Mamata Banerjee was conspicuous by her absence.

But Mamata had sent a bouquet with a condolence message, while sports minister Madan Mitra, MP Derek O'Brien from the state government were present. Also seen were former sports minister Kanti Ganguly and former mayor Subrata Mukherjee.

The former players raised hockey sticks as a mark of respect to the mortal remains of Claudius was taken to St Paul's Cathedral for a mass.

The mortal remains was then taken to the Lower Circular Cemetery to be buried near his son Robert, who died in a road accident after returning from representing India at the Mexico World Cup, 1978.

Triple Olympic gold medallist Claudius was laid to rest around 5pm in presence of his family members.

Meanwhile, the Bengal Hockey Association has appealed to the state government to put up a statue and name a road in the name of Claudius.

"BHA will also hold a tournament in the name of Leslie Claudius from the upcoming season," BHA secretary Gurbux Singh said.

Claudius captained India to a silver medal finish at the 1960 Rome Games before announcing his retirement from the game.

He died on December 20 at the age of 85 after a prolonged battle with cirrhosis of the liver.

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