Monday, May 31, 2021

Kenya Olympians (listed) remember their fallen teammates

 Some of the participants in the Olympian memorial, there were several others not inshot when this image was captured

INITIATED by one of the doyens of Kenyan Hockey Olympians, Hilary Fernandes and brought to fruition by Raphael Fernandes and others, a quite remarkable memorial online was held on May 30.

The confirmed attendants was (one or two were missing on the night): Avtar Singh Sohal, Surjit Rihal, Edgar Fernandes, Silu Fernandes, Hilary Fernandes, Brajinder Daved, Reynolds DeSouza, Ajmal Malik, Philip D'Souza, Amar Singh Mangat, Krishen Kumar Aggarwal, Leo Fernandes (could not attend), Davinder Deegan, Harwinderpal Sibia, Inderjit Matharu, Jeete Marwa, Jitender Panesar, Manjeet Panesar, Ranjit Sehmi, Resham Bains, Roy Odhier, Sam Ngoyo, Kuljeet Dhak, Jagmel Singh Rooprai, Parminder Saini (Kake), Tarlochan Chana, Sarabjit Sehmi (Atom).

Special guests: Dil Bahra, Norman Da Costa, Cyprian Fernandes, Daljinder Mudher (Sikh Union Nairobi historian), Shuaib Adam (Sec-Gen Kenya Olympic Association)

Master of Ceremonies: Raphael Fernandes, also an Olympian.

The event was showcased by Dil Bahra who has something of a qualitative Kenya hockey and Sikh hockey historian. Dil presented the complete history of Kenya at the Olympics and captured every dramatic moment with precision. I hope to get a copy and I will share it with you all when I do. You will be amazed how many times Kenya missed out on getting in on a chance for medals by the proverbial hair's breadth. Dil's presentation is in itself the stuff of history and nostalgia. There were lots of contributions of nostalgia from the players who were in the team and even part of a particular moment in hockey history and nostalgia.

It was fitting that Kenya's record-breaking captain and perhaps one of the most respected who played the game, Avtar Singh Sohal, read out the names of his former Olympic colleagues who are no longer with us. However, as each name was read, vivid pictures of each player flashed through our minds. There are many, the familiar, who are with us every day. It was  good to remember those who we were not familiar with but became familiar when their name was read out.

I was humbled to be part of this Zoom effort and play a very minor part in the proceedings.

More soon I hope.


Raphael Fernandes Oly It was all your hard work, the planning, the organisation, getting all the guys together, working with various guys and, in the end developing a program that had the Olympians talking to each other, about each other, remembering virtually every single match, incident, score and a complete rundown on what was virtually a history lesson about the great game of hockey. Hilary, you and everyone who was involved in the organisation deserve our humble thanks, admiration and praise. It was a mighty effort. As Hilary Fernandes said, Dil Bahra also put in a memorable and mighty effort. All of you made a little bit of history, all five hours of it. The camaraderie was gorgeous! Thank you all.

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