KPS Gill, Indian hockey’s long serving administrator, dies at 82
KPS Gill, who died on Friday, served as Indian Hockey Federation’s (IHF) president for 14 years. He was known to stand by the players in times of need.other sports Updated: May 27, 2017 09:07 IST
KPS Gill, who was at the helm of Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) for 14 years, breathed his last at the age of 82 on Friday. The retired police officer’s tenure not only saw Indian hockey rise to new highs but also had several controversial moments.
Gill, who was known for his handling of militancy in Punjab, took over the reins of Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) – the then national body for the sport – in 1994 and held the post till 2008, when the body was suspended indefinitely.
During Gill’s tenure Indian hockey team won the gold medal at the 1998 Asian Games and for the first time clinched the Asia Cup in 2003. He was also a driving factor behind Premier Hockey League – India’s first franchise-based hockey tournament. The tournament ran from 2005 to 2008.
“He might have been very strict during selection but off the field he was very helpful. Many players were given financial support. It was great support to players who economically weak during those days,” Maharaja MK Kaushik, coach of men’s team that won gold in 1998 Bangkok Asian Games, to Hindustan Times.
“Even when I was not associated with the national team, he encouraged me to contribute to hockey.”
However, in 2008, India failed to qualify for the Olympics. It was the first time since 1928 that the Indian hockey team did not play in the Olympics. It led to a major hue and cry.
After the result, IHF’s infighting took a major toll on the governing body and its chief. Several top officials resigned while IHF’s secretary general Jyothi Kumaran was accused of allegedly taking bribe.
All these controversies and on-field results led to Gill’s exit from sports administration.