Same outcome in the re-match

by Dil Bahra
25 June 2017

For the second time in a space of a week, India showed their class and had a convincing 6 - 1 win over arch rivals Pakistan.

This time there was no big hype, the weather was much cooler, fewer spectators. And it was not played in the shadows of their cricket counterparts.

The difference of the two sides was clear to see. India, wounded from their surprise defeat against Malaysia a couple of days earlier, attacked from the start and showed their intent. Ramandeep Singh's early goal settled any nerves.

India showed their class when, in the second period, in a space of four minutes they scored three goals.  Talwinder Singh scoring the first of the three and  Akashdeep Singh scoring the second. (This goal was credited to Mandeep Singh on the official result sheet).  Ramandeep Singh added his  second to give India a  commanding 4 - 0 lead at half time.

Harmanpreet Singh made it 5 - 0 from his second penalty corner. Ajaz Ahmed  scored Pakistan's only goal near the end of the third quarter.

India forwards enjoyed the freedom and spaces created and could have scored another three goals from clear chances.

Mandeep Singh completed India's scoring with his goal a couple of minutes before the end to make it 6 - 1.

With 9.8 seconds left on the clock, following a video referral,  India were awarded a penalty corner. An opportunity to match the scoreline of last Sunday was on line but missed.

Sikh players scored all India's six goals in this match and six of the seven in the earlier encounter.


India’s first win over Pakistan in London

by Dil Bahra
19 June 2017

India finally beat Pakistan 7 - 1 in a match played in London yesterday, having lost their previous two encounters in the capital.

At their first encounter, at Lords Cricket Ground on 21 October 1967, in front of a 12,000 crowd, Pakistan won by the only goal of the match scored by Tariq Aziz.  India team (11 players - no substitutes in those days), at this Pre-Olympic Tournament, was captained by Gurbax Singh included   seven Sikh players, namely Jagjit Singh; Harmik Singh; Balbir Singh ‘Railways'; Harbinder Singh; Inder Singh and Joginder Singh.

At their last appearance, for the wooden spoon match, at the 6th World Cup in Willesdon, London, on 17 October 1986 Pakistan won by 3 - 2  in extra time. Qazi Mohib-ur-Rehman, Kalee Mullah and Nasir Ali scoring for Pakistan and Mohinder Pal Singh scoring a brace for India. India's team (12 players - one substitute used) included four Sikh players, namely Pargat Singh; Hardip Singh; Mohinder Pal Singh and Balwinder Singh.

India were at their best on this occasion and their recent form showed. A 7 - 1 winning margin was their best result in the 168 encounters that they have played against Pakistan which started at the Final of Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games. Six of the seven goals were scored by Sikh players - Harmanpreet Singh; Talwinder Singh and Akashdeep Singh scoring two goals each. Pardeep Mor scored India's other goal and Muhammad Umar Bhutta scoring Pakistan's only goal.

India's team, led by Manpreet Singh included ten Sikh players in the squad of eighteen, namely Harmanpreet Singh; Sardar Singh; Mandeep Singh; Talwinder Singh; Harjeet Singh; Satbir Singh; Akashdeep Singh; Jasjit Singh Kular and Ramandeep Singh.


Canadian Sikh Brothers take on the Indian

by Dil Bahra
18 June 2017

Brothers Sukhpal (Sukhi) Singh and Balraj Singh Panesar were in the Canadian line-up that lost 0 - 3 to India at the Hero Hockey World League semi-Final match at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, London yesterday.

Both brothers, born in Surrey, B C, Canada, play for United Brothers Field Hockey Club.

Sukhi, 23, earned his first international cap when he was selected to represent Canada against Brazil in Brampton, Canada on 10.03.2013. He represented Canada at Rio 2016 Olympic Games and has earned 89 caps.

Younger brother Balraj, 21, earned his first senior international cap when he was selected to play against Mexico in Mexico City on 03.06.2014. He represented Canada at the Junior World Cup in New Delhi in 2013 and Uttar Pradesh in 2016. He has 13 caps.

The Canadians were put under pressure in the first half where they conceded all the three goals. Sunil Sowmarpet, Akashdeep Singh and Sardar  Singh scoring the goals.

Just 24 hours earlier, Canada had beaten Pakistan 6 - 0 and playing two games in such a short turnover in the heat took its toll. India had the luxury of having had a complete day's rest.

"India had more ball possession and we were chasing the game" said Sukhi Panesar. He added "Always hard to play back to back games"


Ramandeep, Akashdeep and Harmanpreet score for India

by Dil Bahra
16 June 2017

Two goals in three minutes by Ramandeep Singh at the start of the third period  ensured that India made a winning 4 - 1 start at the Hero Hockey World League semi-Final match against Scotland at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, London yesterday.

Scotland had taken the lead through Chris Grassick in the sixth minute following their first attack on the Indian goal.

India came back strongly after half time. Ramandeep scored the first of his two goals with a reverse stick shot from the top of the circle and followed up with his second two minutes later. Akashdeep Singh added the third six minutes and Harmanpreet Singh scored from India's only penalty corner. All four of India's goals were scored in the third period.

India's team which was led by Manpreet Singh  included ten Sikh players.

India Team: Harmanpreet Singh; Akash Chikte (G/K); Kothajit Khadangbam; Surender Kumar; Manpreet Singh (Capt); Sardar Singh; Mandeep Singh; Sumit; Vikas Dahiya (G/K); Talwinder Singh; Harjeet Singh; Pardeep Mor; Sunil Sowmarpet; Satbir Singh; Akashdeep Singh; Jasjit Singh Kular; Chinglensana Kangujam; Ramandeep Singh.


Jagjit Singh Kular (1942 - 2017)

by Dil Bahra
14 June 2017

Jagjit Singh Kular who represented Kenya at Mexico 1968 and Munich 1972 Olympic Games passed away in Toronto, Canada on Monday 12 June 2017. He was aged 75.

On hearing the sad news Surjit Singh Rihal, the former Kenya Captain and his team mate for much of his playing career said "We studied together at Lyallpur Khalsa College Jalandhar, played hockey together for Lyallpur Khalsa College, Punjab University and for The Rest of India Teams in the late sixties. We then both moved back to Kenya where we played for Sikh Union Nairobi and the Kenya Teams. We represented Kenya at Munich 1972 Olympic Games and the World Cups in Barcelona 1971 & Amsterdam 1973. He was a very good centre forward and an inside right player. He was very crafty in the circle and scored many goals for all the teams he played for. We later worked together (1992/1993) in Montreal where he was the Technical Director and l was the Coach of Quebec Field Hockey Federation"

Avtar Singh Sohal, Kenya's captain at Mexico and Munich Olympics said "I have lost a great friend and a great sportsman. We played together for many years for Kenya and Sikh Union Club Nairobi. His contribution to hockey was immense both in Kenya and Canada."

Jack Simonian, Kenya's triple Olympian said" Sad to hear about Jagjit passing away, the youngest of 3 Kular brothers so soon after our dear Alu (Mendonza).  Jagjit I remember was a faster version of his brother Hardev in the forward line, both very effective players."

Malkit Singh Sondh who played for Uganda  at Munich 1972 Olympics commented "We will miss Jagjit dearly, a thorough gentleman, an Olympian who along with his brothers Late Hardial Singh Kular & Late Hardev Singh Kular gave their all to the development of hockey in East Africa followed by Jagjit's contribution to the Kenyan and Canadian hockey."

Jagjit was born on 16 April 1942 in Mombasa, Kenya. His parents had emigrated to Kenya from Punjab in early 1920s. He started playing hockey whilst studying at Primary School and continued playing when he moved to Technical High School, Nairobi.

He went to India for further studies in 1964, played for Lyallpur Khalsa College Jalandhar until 1969. The College team won the Inter-College Championships during this period. He was the captain of the Punjab University hockey team in 1968. He went on to represent Rest of India against the Indian National team in 1968.

He returned to Kenya at the end of 1969 and continued his studies at Nairobi University. He played for the University team and joined Sikh Union Nairobi, one of the most famous Clubs in Kenya. He played for the Sikh Union team from 1969-1973 before emigrating to Canada. His father Bachittar Singh also played for Sikh Union Nairobi in 1920s. His elder brothers Hardial Singh and Hardev Singh also played for Sikh Union Nairobi in 1950s.

He earned his first international cap for Kenya when he was selected to play against India in the 4 Test series in India in 1969. He represented the National team until 1973.

He was selected to represent Kenya at the Barcelona 1971 and Amsterdam 1973 World Cups.

He was selected to represent Kenya at the Mexico 1968 and Munich 1972 Olympic Games.

He emigrated to Canada in 1973 and turned to coaching and administrative work. He became the Technical Director of Quebec Field Hockey Federation and later Ontario Field Hockey Federation.

He was the manager of the Canadian team which toured Italy and Spain in 1992.

His funeral will take place on Tuesday 20 June at 11am in Toronto.

He leaves behind his wife Sukhi, two sons Kiran and Aman and grandson Ajay.

Sikhs in Hockey


Kuldip Singh Bahra (1947 - 2017)

by Dil Bahra
24 March 2017

Kuldip Singh Bahra, who was selected for Kenya's tour of Zambia  in August & September 1966, passed away on Tuesday 21 February 2017 in Northwood Hospital, London following a short illness. He was aged 69.

Kuldip was born in Nakuru, Kenya on 4 March 1947. He studied in Nakuru and Nairobi.

He was selected for the Kenya Hockey Team that toured Zambia in August & September 1966 and shortly after the tour Immigrated to UK.

In the above photograph of Kenya and Zambia teams, taken in Lusaka in August 1966, he is standing 1st left.

He graduated from Portsmouth University and settled in London.

He played hockey for Eastcote Hockey Club in the 1970s and 1980s and was a long standing member of the Club.

Kuldip's elder brother, Kirpal, was Ugandian International hockey umpire who was awarded his FIH Umpiring badge in 1974.

He leaves behind his wife Perminder and daughters Harmit and Simran.


Jasbinder (Jas) Singh Chana (1970 - 2017)

by Dil Bahra
3rd March 2017

Jasbinder (Jas) Singh Chana, the talented hockey player, who played for England U21 and represented the country at the Junior Hockey World Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia in 1989 died on Tuesday, 21 February 2017 following a short illness. He was aged 46.

Jas was born on 15 September 1970 in Kampala, Uganda. His family emigrated to the UK in 1972 following the expulsion of Asians during Idi Amin's political regime.

He started studying at Lozells Primary School Birmingham before moving to Handsworth Wood Boys School where his hockey career started. He played for the school team and Handsworth Eagles Hockey Club. He then went to Matthew Boulton College, Birmingham for further studies and joined Bournville Hockey Club where his talent really blossomed under the guidance of Neil Mallett, the former England Captain,  who became his mentor.

Neil Mallett, who was England Under 21 Indoor Coach  had this to say about Jas " I was involved with him as both a member at Bournville hockey club and as a his coach when he became a member of the England Under 21 indoor team in the late 1980's so had quite a bit of involvement and influence with him on and off the hockey pitch at a time  when he was developing and his embryonic years and his approach to the game as a whole. We had several one to one indoor sessions here in Birmingham as part of him striving to gain selection for the England U 21 team that I was involved in coaching at the time and he achieved both indoor and outdoor selection for England at Under 21 level- I'm pleased to say that the Chana family in particular his older brother Satbinder put their trust in me to help Jas along his hockey journey to take him to the next level.

Jas was slightly different though in that he saw the need to evolve physically as well as technically (although he never really enjoyed the physical stuff that much)  to meet and match the demands of the game that was now pretty much exclusively on synthetic pitches rather than natural grass. As we got to know each other better, trust was established and  the competitive side of his personality began to show through as someone who wanted to win. I recall spending one particular session with him one to one at the BAI in Birmingham using an upturned wooden bench as an improvised makeshift sideboard and working with him in a left defender role in springing counter attacks to turn defence into attack using his instinctive skills to the full - he enjoyed that part.

As a younger man, he was an intelligent, down to earth type of person, keen to talk about things and improve his own game in doing so.

Where I feel I was able to help him and connect was that we had a lot in common - After all I had trodden the same route as him some 15 years previous - Both inner city Brummies - working hard and striving to make an impression on the international stage in the sport that we both loved."

He earned his first England Under 21 outdoors cap when he was selected to represent England against Netherlands at a 3 Nations Tournament at Wagener Stadium, Amstelveen on 25 March 1989. He played left back and went on to win twenty one Under 21 caps. He played against Netherlands; Pakistan; Australia; West Germany; USSR; Spain; South Korea; USA; Argentina; Wales; Switzerland; France; Sweden and Ireland during this period and scored four goals. He also represented England Under 21 indoors squad.

Allan Mayo, the England Under 21 Indoors Team Manager in 1989 said "Jas Chana was selected for the England U21 Indoor squad, aged around 18, and immediately made his mark as a player who was comfortable on the ball and hard working in defence.  But it was his quiet, polite, unassuming nature and understated sense of humour, which shone through - an absolute pleasure to work with - and a player who was reliable on and off the field, who always gave of his best. The team won a Silver Medal in the European U21 Indoor Championships held in Orense, Spain in 1989 - the best performance by an U21 indoor team up to that point - and, on the way to the final, we defeated Netherlands U21, which was the first time they had been defeated in any U21 Indoor Tournament.  Jasbinder was very much part of that success."

That same year he was selected for the Junior World Cup played at Ipoh, Malaysia.

On hearing the sad news, Amarjit Singh Degun, his team mate at Junior World Cup and England Under 21 team said "I share a lot of memories with Jas. A fine young gentleman and a great player. I treated him like a younger brother and words cannot even begin to express my sorrow. The game we all love has lost a truly brilliant player who brought so much to the game and made it enjoyable to watch. He was admired by all who played with him and I am sure all those players will feel his loss. At this moment my thoughts are with his family and I offer them my prayers and best wishes during this difficult time."

He was a member of Great Britain team that won the Gold at World Students Games in Sheffield in 1991 beating Germany in the final.

Bobby Crutchley, the current Great Britain and England Men's coach who was also a member of the winning team of 1991 said "I am devastated to hear the news of Jas's passing. He was a great skilful player and also a great team-mate. He always played with a big smile on his face and was one of the guys you wanted on your team."

Jas then moved to Cannock Hockey Club, winning the National league in 1996 with the Club and also playing in the European Club Championships.

Chris Mayer, the former Great Britain and England international who was a team mate of Jas at Cannock had this to say "Jas Chana played a huge part in the early success of Cannock Hockey Club in the national league. He transformed the way that left half was played in this country with his guile and skill. Jas was a gentleman and will be missed."

David Whittaker, Great Britain's Gold medal winning Coach at Seoul 1988 Olympics had this to say "he was an immensely talented player who mixed deft touches with uncompromising strength, a gentleman in his general demeanour and approach to life a yet a fiercely competitive performer on the field, a player you much prefer to have with you rather than against you"

Jas played indoor hockey for Barford Tigers Club. He was a member of the team that won the DTZ International Hockey Tournament and played in the National Indoor Finals Nights at Crystal Palace on many occasions and finishing as runners - up in 1995.

Jagdeep (Jag) Singh Soor, his team mate at Barford Tigers indoor team for over ten seasons and a friend since the age of eleven paid this tribute "It is with deep sadness that we have lost Jas at such a young age. Jas gave so much to the hockey world and was respected as one of the top Asian players in his generation. He also was an inspiration to so many with his hockey playing ability, guidance, personality, caring nature and fun loving attitude. His legacy will continue for generations to come. May his soul rest in peace."

Bernie Cotton, the former Great Britain and England Captain who was Manager of Great Britain's Olympic Team at Barcelona 1992 Olympic Games said "My focus in 1991-92 was clearly on developing the 1992 Olympic squad. I recall Jas Chana as a talented player, reminiscent of the great Rui Suldhana of 20 years before, playing well for England U21. He was on the fringes of the England team during the Great Britain team 1992 Olympic preparations."

He also represented Staffordshire County in the National County Championship and had short stints with Leamington Khalsa Hockey Club and Wednesbury Hockey Club, before taking on the role of coaching Juniors at Barford Tigers Hockey Club.

He was also the role model and guidance for nephew Arjan Drayton-Chana, who has already made an impressive impact on the National and International hockey scene.

His funeral is on Saturday 4 March 2017 at 11am at Sandwell Valley Crematorium, Newton Road, West Bromwich, B71 3SX.

Jas leaves behind wife Karamjit Kaur Chana, daughter Amanjit Kaur Chana, his mother and five siblings.