Former Kenya player Bains to receive hockey’s Order of Merit

Nairobi, Sep 20 (IANS) Former Kenya player Resham Bains will receive hockey’s Order of Merit in November for his exemplary service to the game, Federation of International Hockey (FIH) President Leandro Negre said on Tuesday.

Bains, who played hockey for Kenya during the 1971 World Cup in Barcelona and at the 1972 Munich Olympics, will receive the award that is granted to members of FIH for distinguished service over a period of at least 10 years for exceptional contribution towards hockey, reports Xinhua.

“It will be a befitting tribute for my former opponent on the field to receive the award during the same month I will be leaving office after serving at the helm of hockey for eight years,” Negre said in Nairobi during the occasion to open the Sikh Union Club’s Mahan Hockey Hall of Fame.

Bains will become the second Kenyan to receive the award after Hardial Singh was honored by the hockey world governing body in 1984.

The 70-year-old former Spanish goalkeeper was invited by members of the club to open the Hall of Fame as a tribute to all of Kenya’s national players who have featured at the Olympics and World Cup over the last 85 years.

Bains, who also served as the chairman of the Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) between 2005 and 2013, played in the half-back position and after retiring from international hockey, took up umpiring.

He served as a member of the FIH Umpiring Committee from 2003 to 2005, vice-president of the Africa Hockey Federation and is at present a member of the National Olympic Committee of Kenya (NOCK).

The FIH president said Kenya should do her best to take hockey back to the glorious days of the past when the country was a powerhouse to reckon with.

Kenya, which last featured at the Olympics 28 years ago during the 1988 Seoul Games, was once a powerhouse that would put up spirited struggle against great-playing nations such as India, Pakistan and the Netherlands.

The country was crowned African hockey champions 29 years ago after clinching the gold medal during the Fourth All Africa Games hosted in Nairobi, a feat that earned the Kenya the chance to represent the continent at the Seoul Olympics.

–IANS

pur/vt

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