Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, August 17
Former India hockey player and coach Hardayal Singh, a member of the team that won the gold medal at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, died at age 90 in Dehradun.
After his playing days were over, Singh became a coach and was in-charge of the national team from 1983 to 1987. He was bestowed with the prestigious Dhyanchand Award for lifetime achievement in sports in 2004. Singh had been hailed as the senior-most hockey coach in Uttarakhand, and he had been living in the region from well before the creation of the state.
In an interview a few years ago, Singh said that he had been working with the Survey of India in Dehradun when, on a well-wisher’s advice, he decided to join the Army. “In August 1949, I went to the Sikh Regimental Centre, which was in Ambala, and made it to the Sikh Regiment on sports quota, since I used to play hockey really well,” he recalled. “I was commissioned into the 1 Sikh Regiment as a jawan, but later I was transferred to the 7 Sikh Regiment.” He spent most of his military service with the Sikh Regiment hockey team, first as a player and later as coach-cum-manager. He also saw action in the India-Pakistan war of 1965.
Subedar Singh took premature retirement from the Army in 1969 to look after his wife, who was suffering from brain tumour. She passed away the same year. Three years later, he took over as the chief coach at the National Stadium in New Delhi. Before his stint with the national team, he also coached the junior national team.
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