Udham Singh (field hockey)
|Full name||Udham Singh Kular|
4 August 1928|
Sansarpur, Jalandhar, Punjab, British India
|Died||23 March 2000
Sansarpur, Jalandhar, Punjab, India
|Height||5'6" (168 cm)|
|Playing position||Center forward|
Udham Singh Kular known as Udham Singh (1928–2000) originally from Sansarpur, Jalandhar, Punjab, India had played 1952 Summer Olympics Helsinki, 1956 Summer Olympics Melbourne, 1960 Summer Olympics Rome and 1964 Summer Olympics Tokyo as a member of Indian Hockey team and won three gold and a silver medals (set an Olympic record for a player in the Olympic Field Hockey competition). He was also awarded the Arjuna Award by the Indian Government. He is known to be one of the finest Hockey players India has ever produced. Apart from Leslie Claudius, Udham is the only Hockey player in the history of the game to have been able to win 3 Gold Medals and 1 Silver Medal in Olympic events. He was a Half Back and had the adaptability to play from Left Inside, Right Inside, Center Forward and Center Half positions as well.
He was born on 4 August 1928 at Sansarpur, a small village near Jallandhar Cantonment of Punjab. He studied at Victor High School and DAV College, Jallandhar. Although Udham had a short stature at just 5 feet 6 inches and weighed only 58 kg, it never affected his game.
He was named the Captain of his College Hockey team in 1947, and was recruited by the Punjab Police the same year, which had one of the best Hockey teams in the nation at that time. For a period of 18 years he played for Punjab Police, and led the team a couple of times during the tenure. Also, Udham Singh was named the Captain of the State Hockey team of Punjab in 1954.
Udham Singh would have made his Olympics debut right in the London Olympics 1948, but due to a finger injury he missed the chance. He played in a Hockey Series against Afghanistan in 1949, contributing to India’s victory at the Series. Udham was a part of the Indian Hockey squad at Helsinki Olympics 1952 wherein the Captain K.D. Singh Babu led the Indian team to a Gold Medal win, and at the Melbourne Olympics 1956 where Balbir Singh Senior successfully led the Indian team to save the Gold Medal. Udham also played in the Rome Olympics 1960 and his 4th and last Tokyo Olympics 1964. At Rome, Pakistan defeated India in the Finals, while the Indian team snatched its Gold Medal back from Pakistan in Tokyo defeating the opponents by 1-0. Udham Singh delivered his best performance at Tokyo Asian Games 1958 but still couldn’t get India the Gold as Pakistan beat India on the basis of better goal average.
He was named the Captain of the Indian Hockey Federation team that went to a Warsaw tour in 1955 and to East Africa in 1959. Udham also led the Indian squad to World Cup Hockey held at Lyons, France.
Udham Singh also served as the Coach of the Indian Hockey team and successfully got the team a bronze Medal at Mexico Olympics 1968 and silver medal at Bangkok Asian Games 1970. After his retirement for active Hockey, he has been engaged in training younger boys.
To felicitate the services and contribution of Udham Singh towards the game of Hockey, the Government of India honored him with the Arjuna Award in 1965.