NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The Indian community in Kenya has made its mark
in Kenyan sports in many ways since the country attained
independence in 1963.
During the days of the East
African Safari Rally, when the event was a fixture on the World
Rally Championship (WRC) calendar, Joginder Singh, a Kenyan of
Indian origin who went by the moniker "The Flying Sikh",
dominated the competition.
He won the event on three occasions at a time when teams from
Europe and Japan assembled their best machines for the toughest
rally in the world, and is credited with creating interest in
motorsport his community.
The husband and wife Safari Rally team of Prem and Pauru
Choda, showed that not only was rallying a test of both man and
machine, but in their case of man, woman and machine during a
time when the longest-serving motorsport administrator was
Aasif Karim, former Kenya national cricket team captain,
whose family’s sporting lineage spans three generations, told
Xinhua he has been privileged to carry the Kenyan flag on
different occasions in diverse sporting venues both in cricket
"Mine may just be one of the multitude [of] tales to be told
about the Indian contribution to sports in Kenya.
"My story and that of my family is but one of many and I
cannot help but think of all those other sportsmen and women
that have played their part in making Kenya such an amazingly
gifted and talented sporting nation," Karim said.
Avtar Singh Sohal, who captained Kenya’s hockey team through
three Olympic Games, is believed in many sporting circles to be
one of the greatest Indian sportsmen outside of India.
In tennis, former Industrial Court of Kenya Judge, Saeed
Cockar and his brother former Chief Justice of Kenya Majid Abdul
Cockar, broke the domination long held by English colonial era
players in the late 1950s.
They were closely followed by Yashwin Shretta who dominated
the Kenyan tennis scene for over a decade, not to mention Yusuf
Karim who won tennis tournaments and remained undefeated for 25
years in Mombasa from 1951 to 1977 from the age of 16 to 42.
In cricket, Kenya dominated the East African scene from the
1960s to early 2000s under talented players like Akhil Lakhani,
Jawahir Shah, Zulfikar Ali, and Ramanbhai Patel.
"Post-independence India has to date contributed immensely to
sports in Kenya and several teams including hockey and cricket
from the sub-continent still visit the East African nation, with
coaches and managers having played a major role in the country’s
continued success at the Cricket World Cups in the 1990s and in
hockey in the 1960s and 70s, especially at the Olympics," Karim
He said the Indian community has also made immense
contributions in sharp shooting and marksmanship as a sport,
adding that the current Kenya Police Service shooting team
originated from the majority Indian personnel of the Railways
Police that was set up during the construction of what was known
as the Kenya-Uganda railway line.