Leslie Claudius Biography
Leslie Walter Claudius was an Indian field hockey player from Bilaspur. Born on 25th March 1927, Leslie was of Anglo-Indian descent and was India’s triple Olympic gold medalist and one of the legends of hockey in India.
As a part of the golden generation of Indian hockey, he along with his team won the Olympic gold three times in London 1948, Helsinki 1952 and Melbourne 1956.
As a midfielder player, Leslie was the first Indian hockey player who had played over a hundred games for his country. He was also a part of the legendary trio of Indian Hockey together with Roop Singh and Major Dhyan Chand. Dhyan Chand, who was a legendary player, said the famous anecdote “Claudius selects himself, now I have to select the rest of the team.” while picking the Indian team for the London Olympics Games in 1948.
Leslie Claudius was one of the five surviving members of the 1948 team that had won the gold in London 64 years ago. As one of the finest former captain, Leslie also won one silver medal in 1960 Rome Olympics, along with three gold medals in previous Olympics, making it a record only matched by compatriot Udham Singh.
On 20th December 2012, Leslie Claudius passed away in Kolkata,West Bengal after a prolonged illness. Claudius was suffering with cirrhosis of liver and was frequently hospitalized in the past couple of years. Leslie Claudius was 85 years old and is survived by his wife and three sons.
Awards and recognition:
- In 1971, Leslie Claudius was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award
- Guinness Book of World Records mentioned Leslie Claudius along with Udham Singh for winning the maximum number of Olympic medals in field hockey.
- Leslie was appointed as the manager of the Indian team for the 1978 Asian Games in Bangkok.
- In 2012 London Olympics, the Bushey tube station was renamed after Leslie Claudius in the special “Olympic Legends Map”. He was among the six all time hockey greats who were honoured in this method.