All the news for Saturday 31 December 2016
Army play 2-2 drawn game with WAPDA
Police beat Railways 2-1, SSGC thrash SNGPL 4-0
LAHORE: Pakistan Army drew with WAPDA 2-2, Pakistan Railways defeated Pakistan Police 2-1 while Sui Southern Gas Company thrashed Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) 4-0 in the in the Super League stage of the 63rd National Hockey Championships at National Hockey Stadium here Friday.
Army deprived of a memorable win: The start of the match between Army and the highly fancied WAPDA was delayed because of the fog. In a very cold weather, soldiers made the earlier inroads. They availed the first penalty corner in the 8th minute with former Pakistan captain Mohammad Imran converting with a vintage flick high into the top left. WAPDA, stunned by conceding the early goal, came back strongly and exerted great pressure. They made several penetrations into the rival circle without making any attempt. Three first half PCs, earned in succession, were also wasted and they entered the second half down by one goal. As in the first half, early minutes saw Army entering the WAPDA circle, a couple of times. Then WAPDA regained ascendancy and were well in control for a considerable period but without any success. They also couldn’t make out of another three PCs. In the 42nd minute, Army, quick on turnovers, attacked the WAPDA castle and had their second (and last) PC and Imran had his second goal. Hence the last quarter started with Army holding to a highly unexpected two goals lead. WAPDA were showing great urgency and threw men forward. Soon, the 7th PC arrived. Having failed with direct attempts, this time they opted for the indirect drill, despite having the services of Sohail Abbas, the most successful drag flicker in the history. Sohail slipped the ball to Mohammad Tasawwar on his left who flicked the ball into the net. It was game on. WAPDA continued to look for the equaliser. But with increased men in attack, there were gaps in WAPDA’s defence and Army entered the circle many a time and had a few good attempts as well. Army were on the verge of the biggest upset of these national championships when the final minute began. Little Asad Bashir’s fine stick work yielded another PC for WAPDA. They again went for a variation and found the equaliser through Umar Bhutta. A real cliff hanger.
Railways unlucky to lose against Police: Merely creating chances don;t win matches; goals have to be scored. This was the story of the Railways-Police fixture. Railways completely dominated the first quarter without availing open play chances and the two penalty corners. The second quarter was the most evenly fought of the entire match and all the three goals arrived in this period. An entertaining pole to pole game was witnessed. Both the sides had PCs and other chances. In the 21st minute, Police broke the ice via Mohammad Sharjeel, scorer of three hat tricks in this national championships. He found the board with a first time hit off a good ball sent into the circle. Within four minutes, it was 1-1 when Ahmad Nadeem, the highly talented forward of Pakistan’s under-18 squad, standing close to the goal, flicked in a beautiful ball from right. Last minute of the first half saw the last goal. Tightly marked Sharjeel was brought down in the circle and Mohammad Waseem put Police ahead again with a strong push to the top of the net’s left corner. Railways remained in almost complete control during the last two quarters. Had four more PCs and several other opportunities but the equaliser eluded them. They were far ahead of Police on all the counts: circle penetrations, attempts on goal and penalty corners, but luck deserted Railways.
Rana Sohail’s hat-trick: It was a clash between country’s two gas companies: Sui Southern Gas Company and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited. There is a gulf of difference in the experience and composition of the two sister organisations’ teams. SSGC had many junior as well as some senior international in their fold while the SNPL were a newly raised side with no big names. SSGC had the better of the exchanges most of the time. They looked more dangerous when moving ahead. The young SNGPL boys also had their moments and were successful in penetrating the other circle quite a few times. In fact, they got six PCs as compared to five obtained by SSGC. But inexperience let them down while SSGC availed two penalty corners. A goal came in each quarter. First came in the 10th minute, when off the second PC, Abbas Haider dispatched the ball into the roof of the net. The other three goals were all scored by Rana Sohail, SSGC’s hero of the day. In the 21st minute, he reacted quickly to a high rebound off another PC. He was again at the right spot to score after getting a long pass from Kashif Shah. In the 45th minute, Mohammad Zeeshan made a defence splitting run along the right flank. His diagonal pass was expertly flicked in by Sohail, who had positioned himself well on the far post; completing his hat trick in the process.
Matches for Saturday (today):
PIA vs Railways
National Bank vs Police
The Daily Times
Police, SSGC record victories in National Hockey C’ship
LAHORE-Police and SSGC registered victories while Army held Wapda in the super league phase of the 63rd Zaitoon National Hockey Championship which is in progress here at the National Hockey Stadium.
In the first match of the day, Wapda deprived Army of a memorable win by the last minute goal and drew the match at 2-2. The start of the match between Army and the fancied Wapda was delayed because of the fog. In the very cold, soldiers made the earlier inroads. They availed the first penalty corner in the 8th minute with former Pakistan captain M Imran converting with a vintage flick high into the top left.
Wapda stunned by conceding the early goal came back strongly and exerted great pressure. They made several penetrations into the rival circle without making any attempt. Three first half penalty corners, earned in succession, were also wasted and they entered the second half down by 0-1.
In the 42nd minute, Army men attacked the Wapda castle and had their second and last penalty corner and Imran had his second goal. Hence the last quarter started with Army holding to a highly unexpected two-goal lead. Wapda were showing great urgency and threw men forward. Soon, the 7th penalty corner arrived. Having failed with direct attempts, this time they opted for the indirect drill, despite having the services of Sohail Abbas, the most successful drag flicker in the history. Sohail slipped the ball to Tasawwar on his left, who flicked the ball into the net.
It was game on. Wapda continued to look for the equaliser. But with increased men in attack, there were gaps in Wapda's defence and Army entered the circle many a time and had a few good attempts as well. Army were on the verge of the biggest upset of these National Championship when the final minute began. Little Asad Bashir's fine stick work yielded another penalty corner for Wapda. They again went for a variation and found the equaliser through Umar Bhutta. A real cliff hanger it was.
Railways were unlucky to lose 1-2 against spirited Police. Railways completely dominated the first quarter without availing open play chances and the two penalty corners. The second quarter was the most evenly fought of the entire match and all the three goals arrived in this period. In the 21st minute, Police broke the ice via Sharjeel, scorer of three hat-tricks in these nationals. He found the board with a first time hit off a good ball sent into the circle. Within four minutes, it was 1-1 when Ahmad Nadeem standing close to the goal, flicked in a beautiful ball from right.
The last minute of the first half saw the last goal. Sharjeel was brought down in the circle and Waseem put Police ahead again with a strong push to the top of the net's left corner. Railways remained in almost complete control during the last two quarters. Had four more penalty coroners and several other opportunities but the equaliser eluded them.
Rana Sohail's hat-trick as SSGC outclassed SNGPL 4-0. A goal came in each quarter as the first came in the 10th minute, when off the second penalty coroner, Abbas Haider dispatched the ball into the roof of the net. The other three goals were all scored by Rana Sohail, SSGC's hero of the day. In the 21st minute, he reacted quickly to a high rebound off another penalty coroner. He was again at the right spot to first time a long Kashif Shah pass into the goal. In the 45th minute, Zeeshan made a defence splitting run along the right flank. His diagonal pass was expertly flicked in by Sohail, who had positioned himself well on the far post; completing his hat-trick in the process.
Today (Saturday), two more matches will be decided as PIA will vie against Railways at 11:30am in the first match while National Bank will take on Police at 2pm in the second encounter.
Willems targets EHL title following contract extension
Jean Willems has extended his contract as head coach of KHC Dragons for another two seasons as he looks to build on the back-to-back Audi league titles in Belgium.
The current season is his fourth in a coaching role with Dragons, initially working for two years as assistant coach.
For the president Antwerp, Hans Borstlap, his renewal is great news for the club: "We are very pleased that John is still with us! He has done a very good job and we are convinced that the current success can continue with him."
For Willems, he says he is hungry for more success. "In the coming years, I would like to try to win an EHL title. We have a very talented group and, with some targeted reinforcements, we can become the reference-point as a European hockey club.
“I love working with a young and talented group. The Dragons team is a good example since the team is composed solely of Belgian players and most of them come from the club's youth academy."
Euro Hockey League media release
20 teams expected in Nairobi
By BRIAN YONGA
Kenneth Nyongesa of Butali Sugar Warriors during a training session at City Park stadium on December 29, 2016 in preparations for the 2016 Africa Cup of Club Championships (ACCC) to be held in Nairobi in January 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Twelve hockey clubs have so far confirmed participation to next month’s Africa Cup of Club Championship set to be held at the City Park Stadium, Nairobi.
The annual championship due January 7 to 15 is expected to feature 20 top clubs from across the continent battling in both men and women’s competitions.
The event was earlier scheduled to be held early this month but the dates coincided with the Junior Hockey World Cup.
Men’s champions Eastern Company as well 23 time- record winners Sharkia both from Egypt have confirmed their participation in the prestigious continental event. Ghanaian men’s champions Exchequer and Nigeria’s Niger Flickers are also expected for the week-long competition.
In the women’s category, Ghana Revenue Authority, Heartland and El-ruafui (both Nigeria) as well Sharkia (Egypt) will also take part.
According to Kenya Hockey Union Match and Fixtures Secretary Jane Nyamogo, a total of 20 teams are expected to take part in the showpiece.
“We expect clubs from Zimbabwe, Malawi and Tanzania to also send teams and from then on we shall be able to conduct a draw,” Nyamogo told Saturday Nation Sport.
“Teams will start arriving from January 3 and we are looking forward to a very successful tournament.”
Hosts Kenya will be represented by four clubs - Butali Sugar Warriors and Kenya Police in the men’s competition while eight times winners Telkom Orange and Sliders will do battle in the women’s affair.
The four clubs have stepped up preparations for the event at the City Park Stadium.
Kenya were awarded the rights to host the competition in September after Zimbabwe pulled out citing financial constraints. The country has previously hosted the event twice in 2007 and 2009.
Fifteen clubs (eight men and seven women) took part in last year’s edition played at the Olympic Centre in Lusaka, Zambia.
Orange beat Ghana Police 3-2 on post-match penalties to lift Africa’s elite hockey club crown for a record eighth time, their fourth in a row.
Eastern Company saw off their bitter Egyptian arch-rivals Sharkia 3-2 in the men’s final.
No more extension to Jan 4 deadline to register team list
by S. Ramaguru
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have bent over backwards three times in their bid to get the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) off the ground.
Teams have taken a lackadaisical attitude as a number of them failed to submit their MHL team list.
Initially, the closing date was set at Dec 15. Some teams claimed they were not aware of the deadline and the MHC extended it to Dec 22.
They still did not hand in their lists when another extension was given on Dec 29.
“We have decided that the final deadline will be on Jan 4. The MHL will start two day later with the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Knockout Trophy while the Premier Division will start on Jan 13,” said MHC competitions chairman George Koshy.
George added that the teams can make final changes to their team list before the Jan 4 deadline. He also clarified that national players are still barred from playing in Division One.
Police, who are making their debut in Division One, were hoping to field their two national players – Mohamed Razie Rahim and Nabil Fiqri Mohamed Nor.
“We took this matter up with the MHC executive board and their decision was for us to stick to the rules,” added George.
There will also be different formats used for the two divisions.
The Premier Division will be a home and away format for the league title with four teams qualifying for the overall crown (TNB Cup).
In Division One, the teams will play in a round robin tournament to decide the winner. All eight teams will then vie for the knockout phase of the President’s Cup.
The Star of Malaysia
Five area field hockey players earn junior national team selections
USA Field Hockey's junior national teams will have a distinctive Lancaster-Lebanon League flair this year.
A combined five current and former L-L League players were selected for Team USA's Under-19 and Under-17 teams on Friday as the inaugural STX Select tournament concluded at Spooky Nook Sports.
Earning spots on the 26-player Under-19 roster were Donegal sophomore Mackenzie Allessie, junior Katie Jean and senior Rachel Robinson and Manheim Central graduate Jillian Wolgemuth. Penn Manor sophomore Emma DeBerdine was named to the 24-player Under-17 squad.
In all, 72 athletes from across the country were invited to the four day STX Select tournament. Players were divided into four teams and played games daily to showcase their talent while competing for the tournament championship.
Team White, which featured Robinson and DeBerdine, won the gold with a 3-2 victory over Jean, Wolgemuth and Team USA on Friday morning. Allessie and Team Red fell to Team Blue in a shootout in the bronze medal game. Allessie —who scored a state-high 76 goals during the high school season — had a hand in Team Red's first goal of the game when the rebound from her shot was pushed into the back of the net by a teammate, and also scored the team's only goal in the shootout.
For backs Robinson and Wolgemuth, the selections mark their second year on the U-19 team, while Allessie, a midfielder, and Jean, a goalie, were part of the U-17 squad last year.
Both junior national teams traveled to Germany over the summer to face international competition, with the U-17 team playing in the Three Nations Tournament against Germany and Holland. The U-19 team traveled to Bad Kreuznach, Germany to face the German junior national team, but Robinson did not make the trip due to an ACL tear during the high school basketball season.
Penn Manor senior Brooke DeBerdine, Emma's older sister, was also on the U-19 team last year and played in Germany. In November, Brooke DeBerdine played with the Under-21 team at the Junior World Cup in Santiago, Chile.
This fall, Allessie, Jean and Robinson helped lead Donegal to a perfect 29-0 season and the program's first PIAA Class 2A Championship. All three players were recognized as All-League and first team All-State and All-Region in the postseason. They also earned All-American honors, with Allessie being named to the first team, Jean to the second team and Robinson to the third team.
Wolgemuth, now a freshman at Duke, played in 14 games for the Blue Devils this season, starting nine of them.
Emma DeBerdine and Penn Manor won Lancaster-Lebanon League and District Three Class 3A silver before making the team's fifth consecutive PIAA semifinals appearance. The forward scored 50 goals, good for second in the league, and earned All-League, first team All-State and second team All-Region honors.
New Year's Honours for our 16 gold medalists
GB celebrate their gold medal
We are delighted to share the news that all 16 of our gold medal-winning athletes from Rio have been named in the 2016 New Year's Honours list.
Captain Kate Richardson-Walsh becomes an OBE, having already been awarded an MBE in 2014 for her services to hockey. Fittingly, her 15 Olympic teammates have now been awarded MBEs for their magnificent achievement in this summer's games.
The manner in which our team won gold will live long in the memory, with Danny Kerry's side winning all eight of their games in Brazil. Nine million people saw us defeat The Netherlands in dramatic fashion to become the nation's first female hockey gold medal winners, and we came home from Rio with more gold medalists than any other Team GB sport.
Since Rio, our athletes have received great praise for their achievements on the pitch, but also for the way in which they have harnessed their success for the good of the sport. Collectively, they have hugely increased interest in our sport, through countless visits to schools and hockey clubs, numerous media appearances and a raft of sporting awards, to name but a few.
Chief Executive Sally Munday said, "It is wonderful that our athletes have been recognised in this manner. As history-making women, they have inspired thousands of people to pick up a hockey stick and enjoy our wonderful sport.
"Thanks to the support of the National Lottery, UK Sport and our sponsors led by Investec, we are able to run a full time programme with outstanding coaches and staff led by Danny Kerry, giving our athletes the best chance of fulfilling their dreams and becoming Olympic champions."
Kate Richardson-Walsh commented, "I am hugely honoured to receive an OBE, and for the team and our sport to be recognised in this way is huge. As a squad, we want hockey to be accessible and available to everyone, and we will continue to make this our mission.
"Rio was a team effort and a testament to Head Coach Danny Kerry and the magnificent support team. Of course none of what we achieved would have been possible without the staff and the squad of 31 working together.
"There are so many contributors to the team's success, and I would like to mention our army of passionate volunteers who help the sport to thrive because without them we would not be receiving this honour. Let us keep working together in the year ahead to make our wonderful sport go from strength to strength."
Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE): Kate Richardson-Walsh
Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE): Giselle Ansley, Sophie Bray, Crista Cullen, Alex Danson, Maddie Hinch, Hannah MacLeod, Shona McCallin, Lily Owsley, Samantha Quek, Helen Richardson-Walsh, Susannah Townsend, Georgie Twigg, Laura Unsworth, Hollie Webb, Nicola White
England Hockey Board Media release
Most-capped Black Stick Phil Burrows taken aback at honour for being 'just a hockey player'
Phil Burrows' international hockey career began in 2000 and spanned 16 years. LAWRENCE SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ
Phil Burrows played a record 343 tests for the New Zealand men's hockey team and rattled in 150 goals.
But you wouldn't think so judging by his reaction to hearing he would be made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2016 New Year's Honours list.
"I was pretty taken-aback just to be nominated," the 36-year-old said from his base in Melbourne.
The London 2012 Games was the third and final Olympics for the Wellington striker. LAWRENCE SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ
"Hearing I was actually going to be on the list, I feel pretty privileged and honoured. I'm just a hockey player, you don't expect you get these kind of honours.
Burrows scores against Australia in the semifinal of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi, one of his 150 goals for the Black Sticks. LAWRENCE SMITH/FAIRFAX NZ
"It actually never crossed my mind. I didn't think hockey players were up for these kinds of things."
As evidenced by his record, Burrows is far from your average hockey player.
A proud Wellingtonian, he got into the sport through his father Trevor and made his Black Sticks debut as a 19-year-old in January, 2000.
Burrows became one of the most lethal strikers in the world game, playing at the top level for 16 years before officially announcing his Black Sticks retirement last month.
While he scored many important goals, helping the team to silver and bronze medals at the Commonwealth Games, and also captained the New Zealand side from 2009-2011, his prolonged professional career in Europe is further endorsement of his standing in the international arena.
Burrows played 11 seasons for some of the biggest clubs in the hockey-mad Netherlands and said the game had given him so much, on and off the field.
"You just make great mates, lifetime mates all over world.
"I just loved the competitiveness of it and the top level stuff was all I wanted to play.
"Scoring a goal for your country is such special thing. You'd work so hard just to get that bloody ball over the line, when you did it just felt awesome."
Although he has experienced that feeling for the last time, Burrows remains as passionate about hockey as ever.
The sport remains a focal point in his life in his new role as director of hockey and player/coach at the Melbourne University Club, meaning retiring from the international scene was not as emotional as you might expect given the length of his career.
He also helped out as an assistant coach for the Black Sticks men at their Four Nations tournament in Melbourne last month.
Which begs the question, will someone who has done so much for New Zealand as a player one day add to that contribution as a head coach?
"It's not an aspiration but I certainly would like to coach an international team one day, whether that's New Zealand or someone else," Burrows said.
"Further down line would love to go back to Olympics and it was great to be involved as an assistant in Melbourne. I do miss it a bit but I was certainly was on the right side of the fence.
"I don't think I could have handled a week of that hockey, the body is pretty buggered now."
The result of a lifetime in a game he still has plenty to offer.
High honour for Black Stick Phil Burrows
Phil Burrows, MNZM. Photo / Getty Images
New Zealand's most-capped hockey player and former Black Sticks captain Phil Burrows has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2016 New Year's Honours list.
Burrows played 16 years of top level hockey before officially announcing his Black Sticks retirement last month.
"I was pretty taken-aback just to be nominated," Burrows told Fairfax.
"Hearing I was actually going to be on the list, I feel pretty privileged and honoured. I'm just a hockey player, you don't expect you get these kind of honours."
36-year-old Burrows helped the Black Sticks win the silver medal at the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and bronze at the 2010 Delhi games, and also captained the New Zealand side from 2009-2011. He also appeared at the Olympic Games three times from 2004-2012.
With 343 test caps and 150 goals to his name, Burrows now plies his trade as director of hockey at the Melbourne University Club in Australia.
The New Zealand Herald
Success of junior team makes it special year
Indian Hockey enjoyed one of their most successful years in 2016, with the Junior Hockey World Cup triumph being the high point. (PTI)
When the young Indian team lifted the Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup, beating Belgium 2-1 in the final, it was the first time a host nation had won the prestigious event.
Skipper Harjeet Singh and Co had prepared hard for the last two years under Harendra Singh. The coach was desperate to win the cup as under him India had missed bronze in 2005 at Rotterdam.
The win helped the 18-member squad draw the attention of the national selectors who will be drafting names for the core group of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Even before the junior team’s celebrations were over, the under-18 women created history by winning the Asia Cup bronze in Thailand. Striker Sangita Kumari struck a brace to steer India to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Korea in the play-off.
The success of Indian hockey at the world level, especially with the men and women’s teams making the Rio Olympics, made 2016 one of the most successful years in two decades. Performance and planning went hand in hand and after a long time Indian hockey looked to pose a challenge.
The win at the 2014 Asian Games at Incheon, beating Pakistan 4-2 in the penalty shootout, ensured a Rio berth for the men’s team.
The men lost to Belgium 1-3 to bow out of the Olympic quarterfinals, and the women finished a poor 12th. Of their four matches at Rio, the women could only draw against Japan 2-2 but making the Olympics was a big achievement as it happened after 36 years. They had a fourth-place finish at the 1980 Moscow Games, where the men’s team won its last Olympic gold.
The pain of Rio lessened when India won the Asian Champions Trophy for the second time, beating Pakistan 3-2 in Malaysia immediately after the Games.
The experienced Sardar Singh proved his worth by winning the man-of-the-match in the final, while custodian PR Sreejesh was brilliant in the semifinal, and drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh was able to convert 11 penalty corners.
In fact, the year did not start on the right note as the men lost to Pakistan at the SAF Games in Guwahati. Silver at the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Malaysia helped restore some confidence, and the first-ever silver at the Champions Trophy before the Olympics raised Indian hockey by a few notches.
The year turned out to be different, as efforts towards betterment were noticeable. Besides the players’ performance, the election of Hockey India chief Narinder Batra as head of the world body (FIH) just before the Junior Men’s World Cup was another important development.
While the loss at Rio is a reminder of the men’s team’s bid to regain glory, the success of the junior side has given hope for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Junior Hockey squad becomes Sports Team of the Year, Kohli's men in 4th spot
Indian junior hockey team celebrate after clinching the Junior Hockey World Cup in Lucknow
Amidst serious competition, the Harjeet Singh led side made it big in people's hearts.
In a year when the Indian cricket team touched greater heights, the kabaddi team stamped their authority once again and the basketball squad took big strides, it was a group of 25 boys who touched every Indian's heart by winning the Hockey Junior World Cup.
No wonder, fans around the country voted for the Indian junior hockey team as the DNA Sports Team of the Year. The junior stick wizards got 1480 votes, which accounted for 44.25% of the total votes cast. The basketball team garnered 1240 votes, followed by senior hockey team (236), cricket team (212) and kabaddi team (177).
"I would firstly like to thank DNA for recognising our achievements and shortlisting us, and then the fans who voted for us," India's Junior World Cup-winning captain Harjeet Singh said.
"What we achieved as a junior team is just the start. Hockey didn't have a lot of support earlier, but now people are loving hockey again in India. Even your polls show that. We should build on this support from here on, and hockey in India will surely be on the rise," he added.
The World Cup win wasn't just a flash in the pan. The Indian colts' 2016 has been defined by consistent results, something that has been alien to Indian hockey. Be it victories in the 4-nation tournament in Valencia or the EurAsia Hockey Cup, the Indian junior hockey team had tremendous success leading up to the World Cup in Lucknow.
It thus wasn't a surprise that a bunch of baby-faced boys showed immense maturity to remain focussed on their mission of getting the Junior World Cup back to the country after 15 years, even under the huge burden of expectations.
"For the first time, I saw a crowd of about 25,000 watching a hockey match," Harjeet said about the importance of crowd support during the campaign in Lucknow. "For all of us, we had never seen so many people watching India play hockey before. Playing in front of that kind of crowd is a different feeling altogether. We could hear chants of 'c'mon India' on the field more than instructions from our teammates. That gave us a lot of confidence. Whatever expectations people from around the country had from this team, we played exactly like that and delivered."
According to Harjeet, it wasn't just a fruitful year for the junior team but for Indian hockey overall.
"This was a terrific year for Indian hockey on the whole. The senior team reached the quarterfinals at the Olympics after a long time, the women's team has won key tournaments, so has the junior and sub-junior teams. So, 2016 has been a really successful year for the entire hockey fraternity in the country, and I am sure the future will be even better for Indian hockey," Harjeet said.
Kenya’s Hockey Olympian, Balbir Singh
by Dil Bahra
From Left to right: Balbir Singh Sidhu; Ron Frank; Gursaran Singh Sehmi and Surjeet Singh Deol (Sr) at Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games.
Balbir Singh Sidhu, fondly known as Bali, passed away in Farnborough, Kent, UK on 10 December 2016 aged 84.
‘Balbir’ has always been a respected name in hockey. Four Balbirs played for India at Olympic Games and it was at Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games where Balbir Singh Sidhu made his mark playing for Kenya. At these same Games, Balbir Singh Sr. led India to her sixth consecutive Gold medal.
Balbir Singh Sidhu was born in Nairobi, Kenya on 11th December 1931. His parents had emigrated to Kenya in 1927.
He went to India with his parents in 1938 and because of the war which started the following year; he stayed in India for eleven years and studied in Hans Village School in Jagraon; Government School Jagraon, District Ludhiana and Government College, Ludhiana.
He played hockey at School in Jagraon and represented Ludhiana College, Punjab in 1948.
He returned to Kenya in 1949 and played for Sikh Union Nairobi from 1949 to 1952.
He played for Kenya Police from 1952 to 1958 and was a member of Kenya Police Team that won the M R D'Souza Gold Cup in 1955.
Kenya Police Team, winners of Bansal Hockey Cup,Eldoret in 1956. Sitting, 3rd from left, is Balbir Singh Sidhu, the Team captain.
He represented Kenya at Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games. He was Kenya’s vice-captain at their match against England in Nairobi in September 1958.
In September 1966 he emigrated to UK where he played for a short while for Sevenoaks and Beckenham hockey clubs. He retired from hockey thereafter and continued with his other passion, golf.
In April 2005, Balbir was one of 27 Sikh Olympians who paraded at Trafalgar Square in London to support London’s bid for the 2012 Olympic Games.
Hilary Fernandes, who represented Kenya at Rome, Tokyo and Mexico City Olympic Games said “I played and trained with Balbir for the 1956 Olympics. He encouraged me a lot and told me not to feel disappointed when I was not selected for the 1956 Olympic team”
“Balbir was not only a strong full back but also a powerful and extremely accurate striker of the ball” remarked Joginder Singh Dhillon, a fellow Melbourne Olympian.
He leaves behind his wife, Harinder and son Hardeep.
Sikhs in Hockey