Jugjet Singh | Malaysia | 29 June 2015 | Asia Samachar |
There are no more Sikhs in the Malaysian national juniors team which is preparing to qualify for next years Junior World Cup.
The only Sikh player capable of breaking into the national juniors’ is still ‘in the making’. He is highly talented but, sadly, too young. He will need another four years at least before he is roped into the juniors training squad.
As I wrote the other day, Baljit Singh son of Charun Singh is the last Sikh left standing in the Malaysian Speedy Tigers.
Sikhs used to dominate hockey in Malaysia, but are now as rare as a white rhino, and Baljit is the lone Lion carrying on this proud tradition in the ongoing World League Semifinals in Antwerp, Belgium.
That is how bad the situation is right now. It might take another decade before Sikhs crawl back into their favourite sport — hockey.
This is because development clinics for the youth, many as young as five years old, are being held on a regular basis at Kelab Aman, Kuala Lumpur, and also Klang, Selangor. These are efforts by ex-players like Ranjit Singh as well as dedicated coach from Klang Jaswant Singh, a former New Straits Times employee.
Their hard-work is slowly showing some progress as young Sikhs are finally finding the sport interesting again.
The last Sikh to play for Malaysia in the Olympics was Maninderjit Singh in Sydney 2000, which was also the last time Malaysia qualified for the Olympics. And hopefully Baljit will continue the tradition if Malaysia qualify.
In Olympics 1996 at Atlanta, US, there were two Sikhs in the national team: Maninderjit Singh Magmar and Aphthar Singh. In Olympics 1992 in Barcelona, it was Sarjit Singh alone. In the 1984 games in Los Angeles, we had Sukhvinderjeet Singh, Sarjit Singh and Jagjit Singh.
Run by Dil Bahra Singh, it has some of the most interesting facts, pictures and team lists with names of Sikhs from all over the world who have played hockey at the Olympics since India entered the competition in 1928.
Before the World League Semifinals is over in Belgium, this scribe hopes Baljit Singh’s name will be among the Olympians — as all Malaysia need to do is win the quarter-finals match and enter the last four to cement their spot to Rio de Janeiro.
[Jugjet Singh has a blog on hockey at: www.jugjet.blogspot.com]
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE! Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]
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