Hardev Singh Kular (1930 - 2013)

by Dil Bahra
31 December 2013

It is with great sadness that Sikhs in Hockey report the death of Olympian Hardev Singh Kular who died in Nairobi on Tuesday 31 December 2013. He was aged 83.

Hardev, an inside forward, played for Kenya at Melbourne 1956 and Rome 1960 Olympic Games, was the Team Coach at Munich 1972 and the Team Manager at Seoul 1988 Olympic Games.

Born in Nakuru, Kenya, he played for Kenya Police in the 1950s and captained the Police team that won the MR D'Souza Gold Cup, the premier Club tournament in East Africa, in 1955 and 1960. He captained the Kenya team that won the East African Championship in 1959. He later joined Sikh Union Nairobi in mid-sixties.

Following a successful playing career, he turned to coaching and umpiring and then hockey administration. He was awarded his FIH international umpires badge in 1970 and was Kenya's coach at the first World Cup in Barcelona in 1971 where Kenya finished fourth.

Hardev was the Hon. General Secretary of Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) from 1973 to 1987 and Chairman of KHU from 1998 to 2004.

He was a member of International Hockey Federation Youth Committee from 1983 to 1987 and was awarded the International Hockey Federation Diploma of Merit in 1995.

He was Chairman of National Association of Kenya Olympians from 2000 to 2007.

Hardev's younger brother, Jagjit, also an Olympian, who is currently in Nairobi,  informs me that the funeral will probably be this Thursday (2.1.2014) in Nairobi.

Hardev is survived by his wife Harbhajan and three children, Harvinder, Hardeep and Harpreet.


Mens Junior World Cup 2013

by Dil Bahra
6 December 2013

played in New Delhi, India, December 6 - 15, 2013

Sikh Players in the tournament with shirt numbers in brackets:

Australia: Jayshaan Randhawa (N. 13)

England: Arjan Drayton-Chana (No. 15)

Canada: Manvir Kingra (No.2); Vikramjeet Sandhu (No. 4); Gurteg Gill (No. 7); Justin Dhaliwal (No. 9); Sukhi Panesar (No. 10); Balraj Panesar (No. 17); Jannu Mahal (No. 32).

India: Sukhmanjit Singh (No. 2); Harjeet Singh (No. 3); Gurjinder Singh (No. 4); Manpreet Singh (Capt) (No. 7); Satbir Singh (No. 8); Prabhdeep Singh (No. 10); Mandeep Singh (No. 11); Harjot Singh (G/K) (No. 12); Malak Singh (No. 18); Talwinder Singh (No. 20); Akashdeep Singh (No. 27); Ramandeep Singh (No. 31).


Big turn-out for triple Olympian Kirpal’s funeral

by Dil Bahra
18 November 2013

The funeral of hockey Olympian, Kirpal Singh Bhardwaj, took place in London today (18 November 2013). He was aged 78 and lived in Stanmore, London. Over 200 people attended the funeral service to pay their final respects.

Kirpal played right back for Kenya at three Olympic Games - Rome 1960, Tokyo 1964 and Mexico City 1968.

Born in Tororo, Uganda, he studied at Government Indian School, Kampala and went to India for further studies. He studied at Khalsa High School, Batala, Punjab; Hindu College, Amritsar and graduated as a Technical Draughtsman at Punjab University.

He learnt his hockey in Punjab in 1955/56 and represented Hindu College, Amritsar at the Punjab University Hockey Tournaments twice. He was awarded College Colours in Amritsar in 1955/56.

He played for the famous Sikh Union Nairobi Club from 1957 to 1969 and was a member of the team that won the MR D'Souza Gold Cup, the premier Club tournament in East Africa,  for the first time in 1959. The Club won the famous Gold Cup a record seven times during this period.

Kirpal represented Kenya from 1959 to 1968, a period when the Country was at her peak in international hockey, earning 95 caps.  He played during the period Kenya were amongst the best teams in the world and they played India and Pakistan regularly, both home and away. Kenya finished 6th at the Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games, the best position in the Country's Olympic history.

The trio of Jack Simonian in goal, Kirpal Bhardwaj as right back and Avtar Sohal as left back was the backbone of the national and club team during this golden period in the 1960s.

He was employed by Sir Alexander Gibb & Partners in Nairobi, Kenya from 1970 to 1979 and worked for the parent body in Reading, Berkshire in the UK when he emigrated to the UK in 1980.

In April 2005, when London was bidding to become the host city for the 2012 Olympic Games, Kirpal was among 30 Sikh Olympians who pledged their support for London at a large gathering in Trafalgar Square. 

Fittingly, Jack Simonian, Kirpal's team mate at the three Olympics gave the eulogy at the funeral. "Just three words sum it up - A good man" said Simonian. "He was a proper gentleman, a very gentle, caring and humble person. Never outspoken, it was a real pleasure knowing him."

Hockey was well represented at the funeral service and included Olympians Brajinder Daved; Davinder Deegan; Amarjeet Marwa; Harvinder Marwa; Surjit Rihal; Jack Simonian; Malkit Sondh.

Kirpal is survived by his wife Rajinder, daughter Sandeep and son Randeep.

Kirpal Singh Bhadwaj was born on 9.9.1935 in Uganda, studied in India, played hockey in Kenya and died on 10.11.2013 in the UK.


Avtar honoured at World Sikh Awards

by Dil Bahra
10 November 2013

Congratulations to Kenya's Avtar Singh Sohal - affectionately known as Tari - who was honoured at the fourth World Sikh Awards at London's Hilton Hotel on Saturday (9th November). His award was in the sports category.

A veteran of six Olympic Games, Avtar, aged 75, has been involved in hockey all his life. After playing for City Primary School and Duke of Gloucester School in Nairobi, he was gained his first international cap for Kenya when he was selected to play against South Africa at the age of 19. Three years later he was selected for the Rome 1960 Olympic Games.

Since being appointed as the National Team captain in 1962 for a  Test series against Pakistan, he led for Kenya for a period of 10 years during which time Kenya were amongst the best teams in the world and they played India and Pakistan regularly, both home and away.

He captained his country's Olympic teams at Tokyo 1964, Mexico 1968 and Munich 1972 and was also captain at the 1st World Cup in Barcelona in 1971 where Kenya finished fourth, narrowly losing 1 - 2 after extra time to India in the third/fourth playoffs.

Tari even got a mention in the 1984 Guinness Book of Records as having the most international appearances at that time, having represented Kenya 167 times between 1957 and 1972.

After retiring from playing, Tari took over coaching and was Kenya's coach from 1978 to 1988., being the team coach at Los Angeles Olympic Games. In addition to Coaching, he took up Umpiring and was awarded his FIH international umpires badge in 1980.

He was appointed on FIH's Development and Coaching Committee in 1988 and was a Judge at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games.

He was awarded the International Hockey Federation's ‘Diploma of Merit' in recognition of his distinguished service to the sport by by former FIH President Juan Angel Calzado on 23 November 2000. 

Tari is still active, currently being involved with Coaching Juniors in Kenya.