Hockey village Sansarpur finds its feet atop Mount Everest
Colonel Sarfraz Singh Kular, son of Olympian Colonel Balbir Singh, takes the hockey stick to the world’s highest peak
Punjab’s famous hockey village Sansarpur (in Jalandhar), known for its hockey legacy with 15 Olympic medals won by its players, has now found its feet on the world’s highest peak Mount Everest.
Sansarpur’s Colonel Sarfraz Singh Kular, who is a fourth generation army man and a son of 1968 Olympic medallist Colonel Balbir Singh, led an eight-member expedition to the Everest. He took a hockey stick to the Everest, hoping his feat would inspire the youth of his village to pursue the sport seriously and work on the revival of Sansarpur’s rich hockey legacy.
“Being from Sansarpur, I have a close association to the sport. Though I didn’t pursue it seriously, I did captain the hockey team of Indian Military Academy (IMA), so there is an emotional connect to it. Like any other Indian, I too want the golden days of hockey to be back again,” says Sarfraz, 40, speaking from Nepal after scaling the Everest on May 19. “Few years ago when I discussed the idea of Everest with my father, he told me to take the hockey stick along whenever I will be going for the Everest expedition. So the idea came from there and I hope the Indian hockey stick on Everest will inspire the current crop of players to take the sport at the world’s top level, where once we ruled,” adds Sarfraz, who is a director of National Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports (NIMAS) in Arunachal Pradesh.
On his return to India, he is planning to present the stick to Indian team wishing them good luck for the future tournaments. “Once I am back in India I will present the stick to the Hockey India officials and will also meet the Indian team,” says the Colonel, who has been named after former Pakistan bowler Sarfraz Nawaz. “This is the nearest point to God where I can pray for the revival of India hockey. Hope my prayers will work and we will make it to the podium at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics,” he adds.
With the Everest, Colonel Sarfraz has climbed the highest peaks of four continents — Asia, Europe, Africa and South America. “Now, I am planning to go to Antarctica,” he says.
Sarfraz’s grandfather was also a former Services hockey player and had fought in World War II. His great grandfather fought in World War I.