Jas­mer cel­e­brated

Kenya’s proud crick­et­ing fra­ter­nity re­mem­bers it’s own ‘Man for all Sea­sons’

The Star (Kenya) - - Sports International -

BY STAR RE­PORTER/ The pass­ing away of Jas­mer Singh Gre­wal on Septem­ber 21 at the age of 85, marked the end of a golden era of sports ad­min­is­tra­tors who took over from the colo­nial ad­min­is­tra­tors, at the time of Kenya’s in­de­pen­dence and helped to cat­a­pult Kenya onto the world sport­ing arena.

From these elite brand of men, Jas­mer stands out. He had played cricket at the na­tional level be­fore and af­ter af­ter in­de­pen­dence, he had gone into sports ad­min­is­tra­tion again be­fore and af­ter in­de­pen­dence and re­mained a re­spected sports per­son­al­ity right till his demise, nearly 53 years af­ter in­de­pen­dence.

He fought many a bat­tle with the colo­nial minded sports ad­min­is­tra­tors post in­de­pen­dence but nor­mally came out on top as Jas­mer was not a man to be cowed eas­ily. His bat­tles were al­ways for the ben­e­fit of the sport and the men and women who played it, be it cricket, hockey or foot­ball. It was never about him­self.

He rose be­yond the bound­aries of race, even when sport was seg­re­gated and he won the re­spect of all.

Jas­mer was al­ways in charge of what­ever he was do­ing and man­aged to avoid controversy all his life. An in­cred­i­ble feat con­sid­er­ing he spent 50 years in sports ad­min­is­tra­tion.

Jackie Jan­mo­hamed, the cur­rent oc­cu­pier of Cricket Kenya’s top seat kept caught the essence of the man in her mes­sage.

“The late Jas­mer was one per­son who knew how to move moun­tains in cricket when things seemed lost and has made a great con­tri­bu­tion to Kenyan cricket.”

Jimmy Rayani and Sharad Ghai who both chaired Cricket Kenya’s pre­de­ces­sor Kenya Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion at dif­fer­ent times re­mem­ber Jas­mer in equal mea­sure.

“Jasper strad­dled the cricket scene and his­tory in Kenya and over­seas as a player, ad­min­is­tra­tor, writer, and leader for over five decades.

“The cricket fra­ter­nity and I mourn the pass­ing away of this great man,” Rayani said.

Ghai noted:”He was the pi­o­neer of cricket. He lived and breathed cricket. I looked up to him from when I was a young man. He is a doyen of cricket.”

Jas­mer’s in­domitable spirit and will to suc­ceed helped to shape the lives of many peo­ple.

Zul­fiqar Ali. who went on to be­come prob­a­bly the great­est all round crick­eter East Africa has pro­duced, said: “It is Jas­mer who got me started. He used to write for the Sun­day Post (a weekly news­pa­per at the time) and re­ally pushed for my se­lec­tion to the na­tional team.

“Once se­lected, he let me know in no un­cer­tain terms that I could not let him down! If it were not for Jas­mer I would not have played for Kenya”.

Av­tar So­hal, who had the dis­tinc­tion of play­ing hockey at five Olympic Games, said: “Jas­mer was a tow­er­ing fig­ure for all of us. You will not find an­other sports ad­min­is­tra­tor who could in­spire peo­ple like he did”.

Jas­mer was also an ac­com­plished jour­nal­ist and broad­caster and an as­tute pub­lisher/busi­ness­man. He took over the reins of a strug­gling Drum Pub­li­ca­tions from South African mag­nate Johm Bai­ley and turned it into the largest sell­ing mag­a­zine in East Africa within a span of two years.

Drum re­mained Kenya’s lead­ing mag­a­zine un­der his watch un­til the early 1990s when a de­ci­sion was made to sell it.

Peo­ple of the ilk of Jas­mer do not just die and fade away, his life should act as a source of en­cour­age­ment for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions to fol­low.

Vet­eran cricket, player and ad­min­is­tra­tor Jas­mer Singh re­ceiv­ing a Soya Awards from Sa­fari­com mar­ket­ing di­rec­tor Rita Okuthe.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kenya

© PressReader. All rights reserved.