Mohun Bagan Ratna 2019
Keshav Datt one of the finest hockey players the country produced, born on 29th December,1925 in Lahore which was part of India then. Product of Government College, Lahore, Keshav Datt had excelled in multiple sports like Badminton, Athletics in his childhood days. He came to limelight for his skills in hockey at very young age and famous hockey players like KD Singh, Dhyanchand had mentored him. He had a rare distinction of playing National Championship for Punjab Bombay and Kolkata.
He was a member of 1947 hockey squad which visited East Africa under the leadership of hockey maestro Dhyanchand. After partition Keshav Datt moved to India. He was chosen to don national colors in the 1948 London Olympics where India won its first gold medal after Independence.
In 1950 he moved to Kolkata from Mumbai. The owner of Broadway hotel, Iqbal Singh had requested him to play hockey for Calcutta Port Commissioners. While playing for Calcutta Port Commissioners he impressed famous actor and Mohun Bagan Hockey Secretary of that time Jahar Ganguly. He joined Mohun Bagan in 1951 to respect the wishes of Jahar Ganguly and played till 1960. In 1952 Mohun Bagan achieved first double in hockey when they lifted Beighton Cup for the first time along with Calcutta Hockey league.
Keshav Datt, one of the finest center halfbacks was selected for 1952 Helsinki Olympics squad as well. India won gold by beating Netherlands 6-1 in the final. Keshav Datt who was vice captain of the team, took part in all the games. He was selected for 1956 Melbourne Olympics squad as well but he had to opt out due to his professional commitments to Brooke Bond. He was made captain of Mohun Bagan hockey squad from 1951-1953 and again in 1957-1958. As a Mohun Bagan player he won hockey league 6 times and Beighton Cup 3 times in a span of 10 years. He is perhaps one of the oldest surviving hockey Olympian in the country today.
Mohun Bagan is honoured to confer Keshav Datt with Mohun Bagan Ratna award for 2019. He is first Mohun Bagan Ratna who was not associated with football.