AJMER SINGH MATHARU, Sportsman par excellence

S. Ajmer Singh went to Senior Secondary School in Dar-es-salaam where he also excelled in many sports. At 16, he was selected to play for the Tanganyika National Hockey Team – he was the youngest representative of the Khalsa Sports Club. He played for Khalsa Sports Club Dar-es-salaam when they won the coveted M.R.DeSouza Gold cup in 1954. He later joined the East African Railways & Harbours. He participated in the Lake Province Athletics Championships and was the top scorer to win the Victor Lordum Trophy.

In 1955, he was transferred to Jinja, Uganda and later moved to Kampala to join the Uganda Police. During his training he was picked as one of the members of the 21 day Outward Bounds Mountain School scaled the highest peak in East Africa--the snow clad Kilimanjaro.

His training, dedication and love for hockey took him to the helm of the game. He was selected to play for the Uganda national hockey team. In 1958, he was selected to lead the national team. He captained the team until 1964. He went to India and completed the hockey coaching course at the Patiala Institute of Sports under the watchful eyes of Dhyan Chand, Balkishan and Lt. Gen. Sant Singh who were the head coaches of the institute.

On his return to Uganda he was appointed the national hockey coach for men’s and women's teams. Within months both teams showed a marked improvement in style and approach to the game. The men's team went on to win the East African Championship for the first time and the women's team reached the finals of the Afro Asian Championship.

In 1968, Ajmer Singh’s post was Africanized and he took a premature retirement at the rank of Deputy Superintendent of the Uganda Police and moved to Leicester, England. He was awarded a Queen’s medal for his services to Uganda Police. In 1970, he joined the British Police Force. He has the honour of having been the first Sikh with turban to perform his duties. He retired from the Police Force in 1998 with an exemplary conduct and flawless service.

In 1972, he was invited to join the Uganda Hockey Team in the Munich Olympics and played a key role in their performance. In Leicester, Ajmer involved himself in activities strengthening community relationships between various groups in society. He organised the Vaisakhi Sports Festivals where men, ladies and youth participated and thoroughly enjoyed activities. He is a qualified international hockey umpire and a national coach. In his heyday Ajmer was one among the best hockey players in East Africa. He has served as the general secretary at the Ramgahria Sikh Temple, Leicester for two years. He also served as the president of the Federation of the Sikh Organisation (FSO) in 1986-1988

He has been honoured by many local, national and international organisations.
Ajmer takes keen interest in Sikh Religion. His family of 3 sons and 2 daughters serve the community through Keertan and Sewa as and when called upon to do so.

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