Rohan Bhuhi, winner of the 2020 Sporting Equals Young Sports Person of the Year Award (formerly the BEDSAs), is to make his senior international debut for the Great Britain Hockey team against The Netherlands on Thursday 7 December. Rohan is the first Sikh to play for GB in 23 years, Mani Kochar being the last Sikh to pull on the shirt for GB in 2000.
Hockey has faced challenges in achieving greater diversity across the talent pathway system but in the past few years has made serious progress. This is reflected in their improving performances on the Race Representation Index (as England Hockey). National age group squads have seen greater ethnic diversity in the assessment stages and in the final squads. Coaching staff are now also more diverse with Jody Paul and Kwan Browne involved in the senior squads. Browne also coaches Bhuhi at domestic level, representing Southgate Hockey Club in the England Hockey Premier Division. Sporting Equals is proud to have Darcy Bourne as a member of the Sport Monitoring Advisory Panel and she delivered the keynote speech at our recent LeaderBoard dinner, talking about her experiences as a Black woman in performance sport and the challenges she faced growing up.
Rohan won the Young Sports Person of the Year, supported by the Youth Sport Trust, at the Sporting Equals Awards 2020. This award highlights athletes who come from ethnically diverse backgrounds and have quickly asserted themselves on the international scene and show promise. His younger brother Yuvraj is in the U21 England squad and in 2022 won the Hockey Writers Club Under 18 Boys Award.
(Rohan with his club coach, and national assistant coach Kwan Browne, and club teammate Will Calnan before making his debut)
“Rohan is testament to progress in hockey. I applaud both his work ethic and his talent. I am also grateful to his clubs for their support of him. He has proven that Sikh athletes belong in performance sport. The speed with which he has progressed to the senior squad only further proves that when given the chance ethnically diverse talent will deliver on the pitch. I hope he enjoys the experience and knows that he is an inspiration to thousands of players across the country.” Arun Kang OBE, CEO of Sporting Equals
Alastair Whatley, Southgate HC: “We at Southgate Hockey Club couldn’t be more proud that current first team player Rohan Bhuhi is about to make his debut representing GB in the Pro League against the Netherlands out in Argentina this morning. Rohan receives the baton from Southgate player and legend of the sport, Soma Singh, who was the last Sikh player from the club to represent GB at the 1996 Olympic games. We hope that Rohan’s achievement will inspire more British Asian players into the top flight of British hockey. Rohan’s call up will be rightly celebrated far more widely than just here at Southgate- and we wish him and the team every success.”
(Image kindly provided by Simon Parker / Southgate HC)