Olympian RS Bhola is no more
Yet another Olympian and Hockey legend Group Captain Raghbir Singh Bhola has left for his heavenly abode. An aeronautical engineer, RS Bhola was not only an IAF veteran but also a recipient of Arjuna Award and an ardent follower of the game. He was 92.
A contemporary of Balbir Singh Senior, Hardyal Singh, Udham Singh and Colonel Haripal Kaushik, lanky Bhola was a versatile forward who donned Indian colours both in 1956 and 1960 Olympic Games. He had an Olympic Gold and Silver to his credit.
He belonged to a rare category of technocrat-Olympians. One could discuss all technicalities of changing face of modern hockey with him as he would often visit office of the Indian Hockey Federation at National Stadium in New Delhi/
Gp Capt Raghbir Singh Bhola joined the Indian Air Force as an Aeronautical Engineer in 1952 after completing his Electrical Engineering from Delhi College of Engineering and served the country’s defence forces for 26 years. He successfully captained the IAF and Services hockey teams from 1954-60 and helped his team win the Inter Services Hockey Championship three times and the National Hockey Championship twice.
When he played for India in Olympic Games, competition was as tough as there were many brilliant players knocking at doors of the national team.
In 1962, he was selected by the Indian Air Force to undergo a two year post graduation course in Electrical Engineering at the College of Aeronautics, Canfield University, UK.
His dedication and passion for hockey continued in various aspects throughout his life. He served in diverse roles such as member of the IHF selection committee, FIH international umpire, Manager of the Indian Hockey team, TV Commentator and a Government Observer at the Olympic Games.
In 2000 Bhola was awarded the Arjuna Award for his life time achievements in Hockey, a game he was very passionate about till his last days.
Ragbhir Singh Bhola is survived by his wife Kamla, three daughters and three grandsons.
Many Olympians, including Balbir Singh Senior, Gurbux Singh, Avtar Singh Sohal, Colonel Balbir Singh (Services), Brig Harcharan Singh, Harmeek Singh, Ajit Singh, Hardeep Singh Grewal, Balbir Singh Railways and internationals Sukhvir Singh Grewal, Jagdeep Singh Gill and Gurdishpal Singh have expressed grief at his death.