November 2000 bulletin

Photo of the Month - November 2000

Your Passport to Olympic History

Fasten your seat belts and prepare to take off for a journey back in time. A journey back to India's Golden Age of Hockey (1928 - 1956), when India did not lose a single game in the Olympics. 

Shown below is a piece of Olympic memorablia from the 1928 Olympic Games. This is the Olympic Passport of Indian hockey player William James Goodsir-Cullen. His brother Earnest Goodsir-Cullen played in the 1936 Berlin Games.

Both William and Earnest were educated in St. George's College in Mussorie, the Queen of the Hills. Alumni of St. George's college have won 6 Olympic hockey gold medals (for India), and 1 bronze medal (for England).

Ernest went on to study medicine, lived in England and eventually settled in Ireland. William James worked for his uncle, then for an oil company, joined the army for World War II, lived in Canada for a few years, before settling down in Australia in the late-1950s. 

Both the Goodsir-Cullen brothers are now dead.

Courtesy Dayan Goodsir-Cullen, grandson of William James Goodsir-Cullen
After Bhaskaran Who? - 3 Choices from 3 Countries

This happens in other sports, in other countries. Brazil's soccer coach lost his job over Brazil's poor showing in the Olympics. England's soccer coach and former star Kevin Keegan resigned when England lost to Germany in a World Cup qualifying match. The entire Iraqi football federation was disbanded following the national side's elimination in the Asian Cup.

What does Indian coach Bhaskaran do after coaching India to 9th place in the World Cup and 7th place in the Olympics. The answer - cling on to his job, at any cost.

If Bhaskaran doesn't want to accept responsibility for India's showing, he is no worse than a common politician who refuses to vacate his chair. But then, Bhaskaran's role models are Gill and Kandasamy, president and secretary of the IHF, who have presided over the India's two worst placings in Olympic hockey without any sense of moral responsibility.

In this rebuilding phase between the Olympics (2000) and the World Cup (2002), now is the time to experiment with a foreign coach for the Indian hockey team. Three top candidates in the world come to mind - Paul Lissek of Germany, Ric Charlesworth of Australia and Maurits Hendriks of Holland.

Paul Lissek reportedly likes the lifestyle of Asians and their ideals and values. Rumours are rife that Lissek may consider coaching in Malaysia. Lissek has already been working for the MHF as a consultant, and will be preparing their team for the World Cup in KL in 2002.

Another great choice could be Ric Charlesworth, who recently announced his retirement as coach of the Australia's women's team - the greatest women's hockey team of all time. He has coached a team that has not lost in 18 consecutive Olympic matches, and which was voted Australian Team of the Year five years in a row from 1994 to 1998.

During the Ric Charlesworth era, the Australian Hockeyroos won 9 major titles -- 2 Olympics, 2 World Cups, 4 Champions Trophies and 1 Commonwealth Games. His record of 198 wins, 25 draws and 30 losses - a winning percentage of 78 - may never be topped.

The final piece of the puzzle comes from the news that the Dutch Hockey Federation has not renewed the contract of national coach Maurits Hendriks. 

"The team has performed exceptionally in the past 2 years" said Hendriks. "Then you start thinking is this not the moment to look further?" Hendriks does not know what he will be doing next year. "This could also be in a different sport, providing it is in a prestigious surrounding."

When last checked, the IHF was awaiting a panel of names from the International Hockey Federation for a second-tier coach. IHF President K. P. S. Gill clarified that the person selected would assist the Indian coach and not replace him.

Gill said that a Canadian sports psychologist who had worked with one of the teams in Sydney is also being considered, though he did not name the individual.

"He should be joining the team in January," he said, adding that the terms of the contract were yet to be worked out.

World's Only 4-Time Hockey Medallist

Article by Payal Singh Mohanka, Graphic Courtesy Rediff

The world's only living 4-time Olympic hockey medallist, Leslie Claudius, was the first Indian to play in four consecutive Olympics, from 1948 - 1960. The hockey legend looks back on an illustrious career.

"I was initially a footballer," he recalls, with a smile, playing for the Bengal Nagpur Railways (BNR) football team. It was during the 1946 Beighton Cup hockey tournament that his career in the game began.

Just before the match, the centre-half of the BNR team was injured. And suddenly, much to his amazement, Claudius, who was watching the game, found a hockey stick being thrown towards him. The team's captain, Dickie Carr, who played football with him, was asking him to join the game. Claudius took up the challenge and entered the field.

For the next 10 days he continued to play for the BNR team, taking his team to the final. This marked the beginning of his hockey career. For Claudius it was time to say farewell to football. 

Claudius fondly remembers the encouragement given to him by Olympians like Joe Gallibardy, Carl Tapsell and Dickie Carr, who  all played for BNR too. Though he never played with Dhyan Chand, Claudius has fond memories of the Wizard, who was a good friend.

"His stickwork was brilliant. Once I remember the audience even examined his stick to check if there was glue on it! When I was playing, he was a selector." A smile lights up his face as he adds, "And Dhyan Chand would say, 'Claudius selects himself, now I have to select the rest of the team!'"

The opening ceremony of the 1948 London Olympics was a heady experience for the 21-year-old Claudius. "As the Indian contingent stepped into the arena there was a resounding applause. The world champions had arrived. We were elevated into heaven. It was a wonderful feeling!" he recalls.

Claudius won the gold medal at London (1948), Helsinki (1952) and Melbourne (1956). But mention of the 1960 Rome Olympics, where he captained the side, stirs memories of disappointment. Claudius says, "Our team played brilliant hockey. We did not take advantage of our superiority. That's why it was sad. Even today that hurts. If they were better, then there would be no regrets."

For the Indian team, it was a case of one crucial mistake. Both the defenders thought the other was going for the ball but it trickled past. Pakistan took advantage of this lapse and won by one goal.

Claudius received the Padma Shri a decade after his retirement from international hockey. In the seventies Claudius managed the Indian teams to Teheran (1974), Bangkok (1978) and Australia. From 1982-1984, he was an observer on the technical committee.

Claudius retired from the Calcutta customs as an assistant collector after 36 years of service. He is now 73 years old.

The present scenario for hockey is dismal in India, where the sport is at its lowest ebb. If he was reborn a sportsman and had to choose his sport, it would be cricket.

South Asia Worst in World Sport

At the end of the Sydney Olympics, South Asia, home to 1.5 billion people, home to one of every four people in the world, got a grand total of two bronze medals. Both were won by women - Karanam Malleswari (India) in weightlifting and Susanthika Jayasinghe (Sri Lanka) in the 200 m.

Among the other South Asian countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan had zero medals, while Afghanistan did not participate.

Overall, Asian countries won 43 gold, 39 silver and 44 bronze medals in the Sydney Olympics. The Asia-Pacific region (China, Korea and Japan) led Asia's charge at Sydney, winning a combined 41 gold, 33 silver and 31 bronze medals, with South Asia bringing up the rear with its 2 bronze medals.

How did India and Pakistan fare with respect to the other hockey-playing countries?

Country Rank Medals Total
Australia 4 16G, 25S, 17B 58
Germany 5 14G, 17S, 26B 57
Holland 8 12G, 9S, 4B 25
Britain 10 11G, 10S, 7B 28
South Korea 12 8G, 9S, 11B 28
Poland 14 6G, 5S, 3B 14
Canada 24 3G, 3S, 8B 14
Spain 25 3G, 3S, 5B 11

8 of the 12 countries in the men's hockey competition finished in the top 25. Of the remaining 4, Argentina won 2 silver and 2 bronze, India got a solitary bronze, while Pakistan and Malaysia finished empty-handed.

In 104 years of the Olympic Games, from Athens (1896) to Sydney (2000), India has a measly total of 14 medals - eight gold, one silver and five bronze.

Australia, Germany, Holland, Britain and Korea got more gold, silver and bronze medals in one Olympics (Sydney 2000), than India has got in 104 years of the Olympics.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics measured the number of medals on a per capita basis, and put India at the bottom, pitting its lone bronze against a one billion people. In contrast, Barbados with a bronze against a population of 207,000 was placed at the top.

India had sent its minister of state for sports, Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, to Sydney as part of the Olympic contingent.

Hussain told the media in Sydney, "In Australia there is accountability, but not in India. But I'm going to fix responsibility on everyone, ask federations to tell us what they had done in the past 10 years."

Shahnawaz returned home only to discover that he had a new portfolio!

The Playing Fields of Europe

The battle for world hockey supremacy is won on the playing fields of Europe. Holland, Germany and England have the toughest hockey leagues in the world, attracting the best talent from the various hockey playing countries.

Penalty corner maestro Sohail Abbas play in the Dutch hockey league, as do his compatriots Shahbaz Ahmed and Tahir Zaman. Korean superstar Seong Tae Song starred in the German Bundesliga, as did Russel Garcia of England.

England's national hockey league(s) have the most number of foreigners signed up. At last count, 24 foreign players from 7 countries are playing league hockey in England, as shown in the table below:

Premier Division

Team Player Country
Canterbury Brian Garcia
Kwan Browne
Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago
Old Loughtonians Andy Griffiths
Hari Kant
Scott Smith
Peter Milkovich
Brett Stephen
South Africa
Reading Todd Williams
Grant von Mayer
Eiko Rott
Torben Gottschau
Simon Towns
Ken Robinson
New Zealand
New Zealand
Southgate Grant Smith
Greg Clark
Steve Evans
South Africa
South Africa
Surbiton Craig Jackson
Greg Nicol
South Africa
South Africa

Other Divisions

Division Team Player Country
I Hampstead Benjamin Simes
Greg Pierce
Justin King
Craig Carolan
New Zealand
South Africa
South Africa
II Hounslow Max Diamond Australia
Midland Belper Craig Keegan Australia

If the IHF cannot come up with a National Hockey League of its own, the least it can do is to give clearances to Indian players to play in the leagues abroad. That way the players get to earn their living, sharpen their skills in the tough European circuit, and learn European coaching styles.

In short, a win-win situation for all.

Global Ambassador of Indian Hockey


Dhanraj in the Bundesliga Dhanraj in the Malaysian League

Khel Ratna (Jewel of Sport) Dhanraj Pillai is the only Indian playing hockey in a foreign league. Dhanraj's year 2000 schedule has seen him play hockey in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Month Location Tournament Results
Jan 2000 Barcelona 4-Nation Tournament 3rd
Feb 2000 Kuala Lumpur 10th Azlan Shah Cup 3rd
Apr 2000 Sydney
4-Nation Tournament
4-Nation Tournament
May - Jun Stuttgart Bundesliga 4th in League
Sep 2000 Sydney Olympic Games 7th
Oct 2000 Stuttgart Bundesliga Lost in Quarters
Nov 2000 Kuala Lumpur Malaysian League Ongoing

Here's hoping that other Indian internationals will join Dhanraj in being the global ambassadors of Indian hockey.

India a One-Sport Nation

Article by Rohit Brijnath, courtesy India Today

We have got to stop being a one-sport-nation (cricket). We have got to give hockey and its players respect, we've got to make it worthwhile for fathers to buy their sons hockey sticks.

If you and I show up every time India plays a hockey match, or shake Jude Menezesí hand when we see him (hell, just recognise him, that'll be enough), you'll never know what we could kick-start.

They say, people only follow winning teams. This is bogus because we would have switched off our television sets years ago when we saw a cricketer. Sure, the hockey team loses, but if we support them, maybe they'll draw strength from that. There's a romance here worth igniting, and not just once in four years.

The problem is with you and me. Every four years we wake up and beat our chests and transform into John Milton when it comes to Indian hockey. All we talk about is Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained.

When the Olympics arrive, sponsors start promising lakhs if the team wins and state governments promise houses. But for India to have a chance of a medal, the lakhs and the houses have to come before, not after. Our hockey players are poor and unknown, not the advertisement any game requires.

Olympic fever will abate, cricket will resume, and hockey will be locked into some obscure corner of the national memory, to be opened only a few months before Athens 2004.

And then we wonder, why we come 7th?

Grassroots Hockey in India - Part I

The Nehru Hockey Tournament Society showed its commitment to grassroots hockey by conducting the 7th Nehru junior hockey tournament (girls) in New Delhi.

Schools from 9 different cities of India participated in the Super League phase, held from October 15 - October 20. The list of schools, representing all areas of India except the east, is given below:

State City School
Chandigarh Chandigarh Government Girls Model Sec. School
Delhi Delhi Mother Khazani Convent School
Thapar High School
Goa Bardez St. Anthony's High School
Haryana Shahabad SGNP Girls Senior Sec. School
Kerala Thiruvananthapuram G. V. Raja Sports School
Madhya Pradesh Dharamjai Garh Govt Girls Higher Sec. School
Maharashtra Pune Krida Probidhini
Tamil Nadu Dindigul Augustinar Girls Higher Sec. School
Uttar Pradesh Lucknow Nari Shiksha Niketan

In the final, Mother Khazani Convent School beat S. G. N. P. Girls Senior Secondary School in sudden death.

Both teams were tied 3-3 at the end of the regulation time and the tie-breaker also failed to break the deadlock. In sudden death, Neelam scored for the winners while the Gagandeep failed for the Haryana team.

Grassroots Hockey in India - Part II

Same organisers, same venue, but this time a tournament for junior boys. The Nehru Hockey Tournament Society showed its commitment to grassroots hockey by conducting the 29th Nehru junior hockey tournament (boys) at the National Stadium in New Delhi, from October 21 to Nov 2.

12 schools from 11 different cities of India qualified for the Super League phase of the tournament, as shown in the table below:

State City School
Delhi Delhi Union Academy Sr. Sec.
Haryana Sonepat Chotu Ram Zamindar Sr. Sec.
Karnataka Bangalore Army Boys Sports Corps
MP Bhopal TN Convent Higher Sec. School
Orissa Rourkela Birasmunda Vidyapeetha
Punjab Jalandhar
Sri Badhani Sahib
Lyallpur Khalsa Sr. Sec. School
Satguru Partap Singh Academy
UP Lucknow CGS Sports College
SSNV Inter-College
West Bengal Calcutta Khalsa High School
XX Danapur Army Boys Sports Corps
XX Gumla St. Ignatius High School

The semi-final lineup was made up of Satguru Partap Singh Academy (Sri Badhani Sahib), Birsamunda Vidyapitha (Rourkela), St. Ignatius High School (Gumla) and Lyallpur Khalsa Senior Secondary School (Jalandhar).

In the first semi-final, St. Ignatius School beat Lyallpur Khalsa School 1-0, while in the other semi-final, Birsamunda Vidyapitha edged Satguru Partap Singh Academy 5-4 in the tie-breaker, after being tied 2-all at the end of regulation time.

In the final played on November 2, St. Ignatius High School defeated holders Birsamunda Vidyapitha 4-2 via tie-breaker to win the 29th Nehru junior hockey tournament. Both teams were tied 1-1 at the end of the regulation period, with both the goals coming in the first half.

Tailpiece - Will the IHF Expand?

With the notification of three new states on November 1 - Uttaranchal, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand, will the IHF give affiliation to these new states? Maybe not in time for the Senior National Hockey Championship (November 28 - December 16 in Jammu), but sometime in the next year.

The IHF can follow the example of its cricketing counterpart - the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), which has set up a two-member committee to visit the three new states, study their infrastructure and other facilities, and submit recommendations on their affiliations. The two-member committee would comprise a former test player (Shivlal Yadav) and an official (Ratnakar Shetty).

Among the three states, Jharkand has a rich talent pool of tribal hockey players, both men and women, many of whom have played at the international level.