Avtar Singh Sohal
Avtar Singh Sohal
(Photo: Sikhs in Hockey)

Congratulations to Kenya’s Avtar Singh Sohal - affectionately known as Tari - who was honoured at the fourth World Sikh Awards at London's Hilton Hotel on Saturday (9th November). His award was in the sports category.

A veteran of six Olympic Games, Avtar, aged 75, has been involved in hockey all his life. After playing for City Primary School and Duke of Gloucester School in Nairobi, he was gained his first international cap for Kenya when he was selected to play against South Africa at the age of 19. Three years later he was selected for the Rome 1960 Olympic Games.

Since being appointed as the National Team captain in 1962 for a  Test series against Pakistan, he led for Kenya for a period of 10 years during which time Kenya were amongst the best teams in the world and they played India and Pakistan regularly, both home and away.

He captained his country's Olympic teams at Tokyo 1964, Mexico 1968 and Munich 1972 and was also captain at the 1st World Cup in Barcelona in 1971 where Kenya finished fourth, narrowly losing 1 – 2 after extra time to India in the semi-finals.

Tari even got a mention in the 1984 Guinness Book of Records as having the most international appearances at that time, having represented Kenya 167 times between 1957 and 1972.

After retiring from playing, Tari took over coaching and was Kenya’s coach from 1978 to 1988., being the team coach at Los Angeles Olympic Games. In addition to Coaching, he took up Umpiring and was awarded his FIH international umpires badge in 1980.

He was appointed on FIH’s Development and Coaching Committee in 1988 and was a Judge at the Seoul 1988 Olympic Games.

He was awarded the International Hockey Federation’s ‘Diploma of Merit’ in recognition of his distinguished service to the sport by by former FIH President Juan Angel Calzado on 23 November 2000. 

Tari is still active, currently being involved with Coaching Juniors in Kenya.