KPS Gill, who was the president of Indian Hockey Federation for fourteen years, passed away on Friday. The former police officer was 82 years of age. He was admitted to Ganga Ram Hospital where he breathed his last.
Gill, a Padmashri Award winner in 1989, took over as the president of IHF – the then national governing body for Hockey in India- in 1994 and was in charge till the body was suspended indefinitely in 2008. His stint as the chief of IHF saw the Indian Hockey rise to highest of highs and lowest of lows.
The Indian National Hockey team, during his reign as the president, won the gold medal at the 1998 Asian Games and for the first time in their history secured the Asia Cup five years later. The Premier Hockey League – India’s first franchise-based Hockey league which ran from 2005 to 2008 – was also the brainchild of KPS Gill.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted the following regarding Gill
KPS Gill will be remembered for his service to our nation in the fields of policing & security. Pained by his demise. My condolences.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) May 26, 2017
Hockey India also tweeted out a message in honor of KPS Gill
Hockey India mourns the sad demise of Mr. KPS Gill on 26th May 2017 and acknowledges his long standing contribution for Indian hockey. pic.twitter.com/Yyd0ryQtWw
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) May 26, 2017
In 2008, after 80 years, India failed qualify for the Olympic Games. It led to a major uproar in the IHF. There was a lot of internal strife in the federation which tore apart the IHF and its head. Many top officials gave their resignations. IHF’s secretary general Jyothi Kumaran was accused of corruption. All these controversies coupled with the on-field failures of the Indian National Hockey Team ultimately led to KPS Gill’s ouster from sports administration.