Balwant Singh Kler makes a mark on Sabah sports

Balwant Singh Kler is featured in 'Pride of Lions: Eminent Sikhs in Malaysia', a 295-page book featuring 57 Malaysian personalities. We share an extract from the entry on this illustrious Sabahan Sikh

By Dr Manjit Singh Sidhu | PRIDE OF LIONS | MALAYSIA |

Datuk Balwant Singh Kler was born on 11th September 1938 in Jesselton (Kota Kinabalu), the capital of Sabah State. He is the illustrious son of Datuk Gurbax Singh Kler, the ’Father of Sabah Sports’.

As such it is not surprising to find Balwant’s love of sports over the years. Datuk Balwant had his early education in a Christian school, All Saints School, Kota Kinabalu, upto 1949. The following year Balwant was sent to Punjab by his father who was anxious that the son should know something about Punjab and its culture.

In Punjab he studied at Morinda College for four years before going to Khalsa College, Amritsar for a Bachelors Degree. This primer college has an interesting history. Some prominent Sikhs wanted to name it ’Loyal Lyall Khalsa College’ but the then sensible British Governor told the assembled Sikhs sycophants to name it simply Khalsa College. Balwant studied here from 1955 to 1959. While studying there he used to go to the Golden Temple and have a dip in the holy waters of Guru Ram Das ’sarovar’ (tank) that surrounds the Golden Temple.

SEE ALSO: The Flying Sikhs from Sabah

While in the college, he was active in sports like athletics, Kabbadi, Gatka, Boxing and Swimming. He represented Punjab University and Punjab state in swimming and boxing. He broke the 35 years old 1500 free style swimming record (in Punjab). He was given the athletic roll of honour in 1958 and his name is written in the college hall on the Athletic Roll of Honour List.

In 1975, he was promoted as [Sabah] State Sports Director and he retired on the 10th September 1993.

Extracted from Pride of Lions: Eminent Sikhs in Malaysia, a 295-page book authored by Dr Manjit Singh Sidhu featuring 57 Malaysian Sikhs. Dr Manjit is also  author of Sikhs in Malaysia, which captured the results of interviews, conducted in 1978 and 1979, of 100 Malaysian Sikhs who were born in India and Pakistan. See here and hereThe retired Malaysian university lecturer is also author of ‘Sikhs and Sikh Institutions In Pakistan’. See here.



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Malaysian retired lecturer releases book on Sikhs in Pakistan (Asia Samachar, 24 Feb 2017)


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