NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
Former Kenyan international Resham Bains will receive hockey’s
highest award in November for his exemplary service to the game, the president
of the Federation of International Hockey (FIH), Leandro Negre has said.
Bains, who played hockey for Kenya during the 1971 World Cup in Barcelona and at
the 1972 Munich Olympics, will receive the Order of Merit award that is granted
to members of FIH for distinguished service over a period of at least 10 years
for exceptional contribution towards hockey.
"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 he retired
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 presently 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.
"Hockey is the only Olympic team sport in Kenya that has received world
recognition and I hope to see Kenya back at the next Olympic Games in Tokyo in
2020," he said adding that African hockey faced many difficulties owing to
facilities, infrastructure and levels of coaching.
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 Holland, India and Pakistan.
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.