After Leslie Claudius only hockey player to win 3 gold and one silver in Olympic Games
Arjuna Award in 1965
Udham Singh Kular, usually known as Udham Singh was an Indian Hockey player known to be one of the finest Hockey players India has ever produced. Apart from Leslie Claudius, a yet another Indian Hockey player of the yesteryears, Udham has been the only Hockey player in the history of the game to have been able to grab 3 Gold Medals and 1 Silver Medal in Olympic events. He was an amazing Half Back and had the adaptability to play excellently from Left Inside, Right Inside, Center Forward and Center Half positions as well.
He was born on the 4th of August 1928 at Sansarpur, a small village near Jallandhar Cantonment of Punjab, which has been very famous for producing a wonderful line up of Hockey maestros who’ve done the nation proud at the International level. 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, still his performance at the Hockey field were good enough to put even the tallest players in the game to shame.
He was named the Captain of his College Hockey team in the year 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 the year 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 the year 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 the year 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 Silver Medal at London Olympics 1967 and Bangkok Asian Games 1970. After his retirement for active Hockey, he has been engaged in training younger boys to mould them into the Indian Hockey stars of tomorrow.
To felicitate the legendry services and contribution of Udham Singh towards the game of Hockey, the Government of India honored him with the Arjuna Award in the year 1965.