Amar Singh Mangat, who represented Kenya at Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games, died in Calgary, Canada on Wednesday 28 September 2022. He was aged 87.
Amar was born on 26 April 1935 in Nara Moro, Kenya and studied at Government Indian Primary School, Nairobi and the Government Indian High School, Nairobi (later became Duke of Gloucester School in the mid 1950s) He played hockey for his school teams and also played at Sandiford Road Railway Landies Hockey Club. He joined Sikh Union Club Nairobi, one of the leading Club in Africa at the time in 1953. He was nominated by the Club for selection for Melbourne 1956 Olympic Games as a centre-forward (All Clubs were asked to nominate players in 1956).
He was selected to represent Nairobi against the touring South African and Rhodesian team in May 1957 and against the England team in 1958. Also in 1958 he represented the Asian Sports Association and was a member of the team that won the Kenya Cup in 1958. Amar continued to make in roads in Kenyan hockey by representing Kenya Governor’s X1 against India in July 1959; Kenya Hockey Union Presidents X1 v Rhodesia in September 1959; Commissioner for India X1 v Maharaja of Patiala X1 in December 1959. He was a member of Sikh Union Club’s team that won the M R D’Souza Gold Cup for the first time in 1959. The Gold Cup was the Blue Riband of East African Hockey, played in Nairobi during the Easter weekend. With winning the Gold Cup went the title of unofficial East African Champions.
He made it to the last 22 players shortlisted for Tokyo 1960 Olympic Games; this time he was a right inner. He was selected for Kenya National team at the East African Championships (Rahim Jivraj Trophy) in Zanzibar in July 1962. He was selected in Kenya’s tour of Pakistan in 1962 and earned his first international cap for Kenya when he was selected to play against Olympic and Asian Champions Pakistan in Lahore on 7 December 1962. He played as a right winger. He captained Sikh Union Club Nairobi in 1963 when the Club won the M R D’Souza Gold Cup for third time. He played in the Gold Cup winning teams on seven occasions (1959; 1962; 1963; 1964; 1965; 1966; 1968).
He continued to play for Sikh Union Club Nairobi for 15 years, helping the Club win the M R D’Souza Gold Cup again; Laton Brothers Cup; Asian Sports Association Cup; Golden Jubilee Kenya Cup; Desmesh Cup; Ujjager Singh Cup; Kishen Singh Cup; Joseph and Sons Shield; Karam Singh/Hira Singh Cup and Nairobi League Championship. During this golden period, Sikh Union Club Nairobi won nearly all the competitions. He was a member of the Kenya tour of India in April 1964 and selected for Kenya’s Team at Tokyo 1964 Olympic Games. He played as an inside forward and scored three goals at the Olympics, with Kenya finishing sixth, her best position at Olympic Games.
Amar received the accolade of Sikh Union Club Nairobi’s Sportsman of the year in 1968. He was made a Life Member of the Club in 1969 for services rendered as a player and administrator. He was presented with the Life Membership Certificate by Mr Charles Mbathi, Chairman of the Kenya Olympic and Commonwealth Games Association during a Hockey event on 6 June 1969.
His last international was also against Pakistan, in Nairobi on 24 March 1968. He immigrated to Canada in July 1969 and took up active role in hockey. He played for the province of Alberta in the National Championships from 1969 to 1972 and became a FIH Umpire in 1976. He was appointed as a technical officer at the Vancouver 1985 Junior World Cup. Amar played his hockey both for the Nation and Club at a time when Kenya was a power house in hockey beating Olympic Champions India and Pakistan, playing them both at home and away regularly. At the time of his death, he was the Oldest Kenyan Hockey Olympian.