Kenyan Veteran Avtar honoured at world awards

By elvince joshua
Nov 11, 2013
  • Avtar Singh Sohal.(Photo:FIH)

Former national Hockey player, coach and umpire Avtar Singh Sohal was honoured at the fourth World Sikh Awards last Saturday, November 9 in London.

The sport award recognized Avtar's contribution as a coach and player.

Avtar, 75, affectionately known as'Tari' boasts of six Olympic Games appearances, a veteran who has been involved in hockey all his life.

His standout performance saw him get a mention in the 1984 Guinness World Book of Records as having the most International appearances at that time, having represented Kenya 167 times between 1957 and 1972.

He began his hockey career at City Primary School and Duke of Gloucester School in Nairobi, gained his first international cap for the country at just 19 when he was selected to play against South Africa in 1957.

Three years later he was selected for the Rome 1960 Olympic Games. He was appointed National team captain in 1962 for a Test series against Pakistan a role he maintained for 10 years when Kenya was ranked among the best teams in the world.

He captained Kenya at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, Mexico (1968) and Munich (1972) and was also captain at the 1st World Cup in Barcelona in 1971 where Kenya finished fourth, just missing out on the bronze losing 1 – 2 in extra time to India in the semi-finals.

After retiring from playing, Tari took over coaching where he guided the country from 1978 to 1988, guiding the country to the 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 teams.

Compiled from IHF