Hockey Is Considered India's National Game?
n this month
of the World Cup in cricket, and all its attendant hype and hoopla, let's
pause for a minute to reflect on the role played by hockey in India's
To put things in perspective, while it took 20 years and 25 matches for
the Indian cricket team to win its first ever test match, it took 32 years
and 30 consecutive wins after its debut for the Indian hockey team to
register its first ever Olympic loss.
England introduced both cricket and hockey to India. While it took 20 years
and 15 matches before India beat England in
cricket for the first time (1952 test in Chennai), it took
37 years and 22 matches before England beat India in hockey for the first time (Britain 2
- India 1, 1985 Champions Trophy in Perth). As long as England ruled
India, they never played a match with the Indian hockey team.
The first Indian sports teams to ever set foot in Europe (1928),
Australia/New Zealand (1926) and USA (1932) were the Indian hockey teams.
Asia's first Olympic gold medal was won by the 1928 Indian Olympic
hockey team. The first sporting achievement of independent India was the 1948
Olympic hockey gold medal. That was the first time that India's national
flag was displayed and India's national
anthem Jana Gana Mana was played at an Olympic venue.
India has won a grand total of 8 Olympic gold
medals in hockey – in no other sport has India won even an
medal, let alone the gold. India holds the records for the largest victory
margin in an Olympic final (India 8 - Germany 1 in the 1936 Olympic
final), the largest victory margin in a pool match (India 24 -
USA 1 in the 1932 Olympics), and the largest number of consecutive
victories (30 wins on the trot from 1928 to 1960).
So dominant was the Indian hockey team that it took 28 years for India
to score only 1 goal in a match (India 1 - Germany 0 in the 1956 Olympic
semi-final), and it took 40 years before a country scored more than one
goal against India in the Olympics (New Zealand 2 - India 1 in the 1968
Hockey's claim as our national game is mainly due to India's dominant past.
But there is one more reason too - hockey is the game of the underdog and the minorities,
a sport in which Sikhs, Muslims, Christians, North-East players and now even the
Jharkhand and Orissa tribals have excelled.
After all, in which other sport do you see an Oraon or a Munda or a Santhal or a Manipuri
go on to be the captain of the national team?
The national hockey team players hold day jobs in the armed forces,
paramilitary forces, police, railways, airlines, banks and public sector
corporations. After their playing careers are over, they settle into their
jobs as junior commissioned officers, sub-inspectors, stewards, clerks and
other jobs of the vast Indian middle class.
Hockey, both men's and women's versions, is the Indian equivalent of European and Latin American football as a socio-economic, ethnic homogeniser in a sporting melting pot.
maintain hockey's status as our national game, and to win legions of young
new fans, India has to reproduce the magic
of old, and start winning world championships again.
Olympic Gold Medallist Living in Poverty
Sylvanus Dung Dung
overty-stricken Moscow Olympics hockey gold medallist Sylvanus Dung Dung is fighting hard against putting the medals he earned from the game under the hammer to make ends meet.
"Occasional bouts of depression due to poverty may one day force me to auction my heart and soul
(the Olympic hockey gold and other medals)," Dung Dung, one of the architects of India's 4-3 victory over Spain in
the 1980 Olympic final, told PTI in
"I just get Rs. 2,500 as pension and have 5 dependents to feed (3 sons, 1
daughter, 1 niece). Life is becoming unbearable with each sunrise,"
said the Olympian. "My only request to the Jharkhand government and the Indian Hockey Federation is to utilise my experience. This would benefit the youngsters and give me a new lease of life as well," said Dung
For his sterling performance in the Moscow Olympics, the then Jagannath Mishra government in Bihar provided him a house, but, unfortunately, he is running from pillar to post to get it registered in his name.
"The house is in a dilapidated condition. I cannot even spend money for white-washing, leave aside
for repair work. As if this is not enough, the Jharkhand authorities have also compounded my misery by demanding unwanted documents," informed Dung Dung.
The veteran right-back, who successfully coached the Central Command
team from Lucknow to four consecutive victories in the Army hockey championship,
asserted that no NIS coach can match his skills: "My applications for coaching are being turned down as I am not a product of the NIS. The authorities do not understand the difference between an Olympian and a common coach."
The former master craftsman begged: "For the time being I shall be happy to coach even a school team as it will supplement my meagre income."
Dung Dung feels pained that he was not conferred the Arjuna Puraskar.
"Many less talented players have been conferred the award. I had played all the three majors
- the Olympics
(1980), World Cup (1978) and the Asian Games (1978) - but no one bothered to recommend my name."
Dung Dung, who joined the army on January 27, 1965, played 8 test
matches against Holland (1977-78), 4 test matches against Pakistan (1978),
and the 4-Nation Quadrangular in Kuala Lumpur (1980). He represented Bihar and Services in the Rangaswami Cup, the
national hockey championship, between 1977 and 1981, before retiring in 1988.
Dung Dung hails from Simdega district in Jharkhand, which has produced a large number of national and international
players. Former internationals Michael Kindo, Justine Kerketta, Noel Topno and James Kerketa are Dung Dung's contemporaries, while Bimal Lakra is a member of the present senior India squad.
Three women players - Sumarai Tete, Kanti Baa and Masira Surin - who were part of the Commonwealth Games gold
medal winning hockey team - belong to the same district.
Karo - Services Hockey Losing Its Charm
Photograph Courtesy : Daljeet Singh
he armed forces
of India have contributed many players to the national hockey team. The
first ever overseas tour by any Indian sports team was the path-breaking 1926 Army hockey
team's tour of New Zealand. Army's most famous hockey product is Major Dhyan
Services hockey championships used to be prestigious events, featuring
many national players. The above photograph was taken in Delhi in 1950, and has Manna Singh
(right), Dhyan Chand (centre) and General (later Field Marshal) Carriappa
at an army hockey event.
Of late, the Services motto - Nishchaya kar, jeet karo - seems to have lost its
charm as far as their hockey teams are concerned.
Till a couple of years back, there was Paramjeet Singh, Kamal Horo and Harbhajan Singh who were with the national
squad. Today, their is just one - Ignace Tirkey of the Madras Engineering
Group, Bangalore. The forces are slowly losing their grip in hockey. Experts feel that if such
a slide continues,
Services' pledge of sending a complete India team to the 2008 Olympics will remain a distant dream.
The reasons for the decline in Services hockey are many. Unlike other
institutions like Airlines, Railways and Banks, Services do not release the players only for the sport.
Also, the teams are often disbanded to handle emergencies. For example, Operation Blue Star in Punjab
led to the dismantling of Sikh Regimental Centre (SRC)
hockey team in 1984, which came
back together again only in 1996.
Lack of incentives and poor pay packages are also contributing factors. While in other
institutions the players
can go on to officer ranks,
in the Army, the players are taken on sepoy ranks with promotion to
havaldar or other ranks, but not to the officer ranks. A hockey player ends up doing a guard's duty at the end. Incentives
are slightly better in paramilitary forces like CRPF, ITBP, CISF and BSF, as the players
can go on to the inspector ranks at least.
Former India forward Brojen Singh quit Indian Air Force to join Indian Airlines.
"The Services give you the best of facilities, but it is not an attractive job. You're not treated like
a star on the basis of sports. At the end of the day, you are just a sepoy," said
He felt that the emoluments given by Indian Airlines was more lucrative:
"Services has a tough lifestyle. Not everyone can go through those hardships."
A more positive outlook came from a BSF player, "There is the least of
politics in Services sports. Good food, good infrastructure and good
lifestyle, what else do you need? That you do not end up making yourself a
star is a different thing. If you are capable, no one can stop you from going to the top.
Nishchaya kar, jeet karo."
Based on article by Vineeta Pande in
the Times of India
u-19 Team Undergoes Commando Training
kms from New Delhi, is the site of the National Security Guards (NSG)
Black Cat commando training centre. The elite Black Cats are a highly motivated, super-fit and ever alert bunch of men who are trained in counter-terrorism,
their most recent work being in the Akshardham anti-terrorist operation in
42 probables of the India u-19 team were recently deputed for one month
to this Gurgaon,
Haryana based institution for commando training, of which 18 were selected
for a 4-nation u-19 tournament in Kuala Lumpur in January.
The purpose of their training was to improve killer instinct, increase risk-taking abilities,
develop upper body strength and to increase endurance. The plan was the brainchild of IHF president K. P. S. Gill, who himself used commando operations extensively during his Punjab Police
The grueling regime began at 6 am with jogging and stretching, followed by circuit
training and then obstacle training - where the probables had to clear 26 commando-level obstacles every day in a specified time.
The players then had a 40 minute yoga session, followed by a workout in the gymnasium and then swimming. Evenings
were spent in weight-training and various kinds of sports ranging from handball to hockey.
Major Manish Bambha, Squadron Commander at the NSG, accompanied the
u-19 Indian team to Malaysia as the manager. The major's pep talk prior to
India's opening game against Pakistan saw our boys playing aggressively and with rare passion.
"It was like a war out there, minus the weapons. Our boys were aggressive and went flat out from the start. They were fully charged up, especially since we were playing Pakistan."
World junior champions India went on to win the u-19 tournament.
As part of the motivational drill, every player was asked to carry the
national flag when going to the ground, and sing the National Anthem which
was played before the match. Also, coach Harendra Singh draped the tiranga
(Indian tricolour) behind the bench so that each time the players on the field looked towards the coach, they would see the National Flag in the background.
Based on the success of this unusual camp, the coaches feel that this
should be an annual affair. In fact, they even felt that other sports could
avail of such camps. Will our pampered cricketers be interested?
Win u-19 4-Nation Tournament in Kuala Lumpur
4-nation hockey tournament was held at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil from January
5- January 9. The teams taking part were hosts Malaysia, India, Pakistan
and South Korea. Malaysia fielded two teams - their national junior squad
as well as their under-16 squad. Matches played against the u-16 squad
were not counted in the point tallies.
India, captained by Prabodh Tirkey of Indian Airlines, had the following record in the
league phase of the tournament:
||Goal Scorers (India)
||India 2 - Pakistan 0
||Gurucharan Singh (2)
||India 1 - Malaysia 1
||India 4 - South Korea 0
Tushar Khandekar (2)
||India 4 - Malaysia u-16 1
Jitendra Pal Singh
In the final played on January 12, before a crowd of some 3000 fans, India defeated host Malaysia 3-0 to
win the tournament. The goals were scored by Tushar Khandekar (11 m), Prabodh Tirkey
(34 m) and Vinay Kumar (56 m).
Prabodh Tirkey was voted the Player of the Tournament, while Gurucharan Singh
was selected as the Man of the Final.
Gurucharan has emerged as a penalty corner specialist in the mould of Jugraj
Singh. Tushar Khandekar, with 5 goals, finished as the joint top scorer of the tournament.
This was the second successive tournament win for the Indian u-19 team, having
won the Akbar el Yom tournament last October in Cairo. In the playoff for third place, Pakistan routed South Korea 7-0.
The victorious Indian team stopped over in Chennai on their return from Malaysia before
taking their respective flights home, and were accorded a reception by the IHF.
The members of the squad were:
Goalkeepers: Adrian D'Souza (BPCL), Pfokorello (Centre of
Excellence - CoE)
Full-backs: K. P. Roy (CoE), William Xalco (Orissa), Alfred
Aseer (Tamil Nadu)
Midfielders: Vinay Kumar, Prabodh Tirkey (both Indian Airlines), Navpreet Singh,
Jitendra Pal Singh
(both Punjab & Sindh Bank Academy), Nitin (Air-India Academy), Vivek Gupta (ONGC),
Jagat Jyothi (Tamil Nadu)
Forwards: Tushar Khandekar (BPCL), Gurucharan Singh (Namdhari
Academy), Hari Prasad (CoE), Saravanan (Tamil Nadu), Imtiaz Ahmed (Uttar
Sandeep (Air India Academy).
Officials: Chief Coach - Harendra Singh (Indian Airlines),
Assistant Coach - Clarence Lobo (Tatas), Manager - Maj. Manish Bambha,
Physiotherapist - Dr. Saju Joseph (Sports Authority of India), Trainer -
Women Hockey Players Should Venture Abroad
IHF makes noises about a proposed National Hockey League, they only have a
men's league in mind. In the absence of a planned nationwide professional hockey
league for the women players, Indian Railways has shown its commitment
to the sport by employing a majority of the Indian women's team members. For
instance, the entire 16 member Commonwealth Games gold medal winning
women's team is employed by Indian Railways.
The Railways Sports Control Board should now take it to the next level
- proactively arrange for its top women players to get placed in top foreign leagues
in Europe and Australia.
If a lower ranked country like South Africa can have 7 players in the
Premier and First Division in the English Hockey League (see table below),
why can't Indian women players do the same?
Parys Edwards, the former South African u-21 international, says that
she has gained invaluable experience in two seasons at Leicester.
"Although I miss the sun, I’ve completely adjusted to life in
England," she said. "This is a great opportunity for me. My
hockey is much improved and I enjoy the robust English style of
Railway (m), Northern Railway (w) win Railways Championships
63rd Punjab National Bank All-India Railways men's hockey tournament was held at the
Shivaji Stadium in Delhi, from January 20 - February 1. Sixteen men's
teams participated in the tournament.
Defending champion Northern Railway, featuring 1997
Junior World Cupper Rajeev Mishra, and Western Railway reached
the men's final with the following match results
|Jan 27 (quarters)
||beat Eastern Railway 2-0
||beat Central Railway 2-1
|Jan 30 (semis)
||beat ICF, Perambur 5-0
||beat RCF, Kapurthala 1-0
In the final played on February 1, Western Railway dethroned Northern Railway 3-1 in the tie-breaker
to win the men's tournament. Both the teams were tied goal-less after
regulation time and 15 minutes of extra time, but in the tie-breaker, Western Railway's goalkeeper, Sairam Bishnoi, stood like a wall and crushed the hopes of the defending champion.
Gurusevak Singh, captain Chandra Pal and Allan Barla scored for Western Railway, while only Ajinder Pal Singh could
find the net for the losers. Rajeev Mishra of Northern Railway did gave some glimpses of his famous
stickwork, but remained heavily marked for most of the match.
The 24th Punjab National Bank All-India Railways women's hockey tournament was held in parallel
with the men's tournament. Six women's teams took part in the tournament.
The women's railway teams were filled with India players, unlike the men's railway teams
that lacked that kind of star value.
In the women's tournament, 4-times defending champion Northern Railway and Western Railway reached
the final with the following match results:
||beat South Eastern Railway
||drew with Central Railway 0-0
||beat North Eastern Railway
||beat RCF Kapurthala 8-0
|Jan 29 (semis)
||beat North-Eastern Railway 5-0
||beat Central Railway 5-0
The women's title clash generated a lot of interest, since 13 India players were on the show. Northern Railway had the services of eight of them,
with the remaining five, mostly younger players, featuring for Western Railway.
Defending champion Northern Railway renewed their lease on the title by
beating Western Railway 1-0 off a 49th minute goal by Sandeep Kaur. Northern Railway had
also defeated Western Railway in the last women's
Railways Championship held at Ludhiana.
Kumar Gets Padma Shree
Article courtesy Shantikumar Arumugam of Stick2hockey.com
ily winger Mukesh Kumar, who scored the fastest goal
in the 2000 Sydney Olympics hockey competition, has been chosen for the prestigious
Padma Shree award by the Government of India.
A couple of years ago, his peer Dhanraj received the same honour. Like Dhanraj, Mukesh also made his international debut in the 1989 Asia Cup under
coach M. P. Ganesh.
Speedster Mukesh, an Arjuna awardee in 1997, succeeded right-winger Ram
Prakash Singh in the Indian team. Since then he has played in two Asian Games,
two World Cups and three Olympics.
Mukesh last represented India in the 2001 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, where he led India to
the third position. India had defeated England twice in that tournament.
One of the highlights of Mukesh's career was the Poznan Inter-Continental in 1993, where he was declared
the Player of the Tournament.
Mukesh continues to play for his employer Indian Airlines in India's domestic circuit. Mukesh's Kumar's wife Nidhi Khullar too is an accomplished star at
right wing, having represented India for about ten years. Both captained their home state
Andhra Pradesh in the
2002 National Games hockey competition.
Down Memory Lane - India's 1928 Olympic Captain Eric Pinniger
Article Contributed by Arun Arnaw
Eric Pinniger was born on December 28, 1902 at Saharanpur – a
tiny town in the then United Provinces, known for its woodcrafts and furniture.
Eric, an Anglo-Indian, was an outstanding centre-half of his era. He played
a sterling role in popularising and spreading the game in India, and was
an important reason in India's early international successes. He
was a master tactician and crafty ball handler. He represented India in two Olympic Games - first at
Amsterdam in 1928, and again at Los Angeles in 1932.
On May 26, 1928, when India took on Holland in the Amsterdam Olympic Games
hockey final and won the coveted gold medal, Eric Pinniger was the
captain of the victorious Indian team. He was given the charge of the team
when captain Jaipal Singh left the team after the semi-final due to some
unruly behavior of the English manager A. B. Rosser. When the prize giving
ceremony was held on May 29, 1928, at the Olympic Stadium in Amsterdam,
Eric became the first Indian to stand on top of the victory podium to
receive the gold medal.
Eric was also a member of the 1932 gold medal winning Indian Olympic
team. He scored a goal in India's record breaking 24-1 victory over USA in
the 1932 Olympics held in Los Angeles.
Eric played for Punjab in domestic tournaments. He was the captain of
the Punjab team when the first national hockey championship took place in
1928. He was also a member of the Indian team that took part in the first
Western Asian Games in 1934-35 at Delhi. Only two teams - India and
Afghanistan - participated in these Games.
Eric chose to migrate to Pakistan after partition, and lived there until his
Police Win Chattrapati Shivaji Hockey Tournament
5th All-India Chattrapati Shivaji hockey tournament for the Dhyan
Chand Cup was held at the Shivaji Stadium in Delhi, from December
29 - January 6.
Twelve top teams in the country participated in the 9-day event. The
tournament was notable for the fact that Rajeev Mishra, hero of the 1997 Junior World
Cup runners-up Indian team, was making his comeback to hockey after 5
years, playing for his team Northern Railway.
Punjab Police and Indian Airlines made it to the final, with the following match
||beat Tamil Nadu 9-2
||beat Northern Railway 3-0
||beat Central Reserve Police Force 4-0
||beat Border Security Force 1-0
|Jan 5 (semis)
||beat Border Security Force 2-1
||beat Central Reserve Police Force 3-1
In the final played on January 6, Punjab Police beat Indian Airlines
2-1 to win the tournament. Indian Airlines was the first to score, when Mukesh Kumar,
from the right of the circle, latched on to a penalty corner rebound in
the 12th minute and slammed it in. Within four minutes, Baljeet Singh
Dhillon equalized for Punjab Police by converting a penalty corner.
Sarabjeet Singh Sr. scored the game winner for Punjab Police in the 60th
Sub-Junior National Hockey Championship
sub-junior national hockey championship was held at the at the Dr. Ambedkar stadium,
Bharat Electronics Colony, Bangalore, from December 26 - January 3.
Defending champion Karnataka and Punjab & Sindh Bank Hockey (PSB)
Academy made it to the final, with the following match results:
||beat Rajasthan 7-0
||beat Bhopal 2-0
||beat Maharashtra 4-1
||beat Jammu & Kashmir 2-1
||beat Chandigarh 1-0
|Jan 1 (quarters)
|Jan 2 (semis)
||beat Manipur 4-3 (TB)
In the final played on January 3, Karnataka beat PSB Academy 3-1 to
retain the sub-junior national hockey championship.
Goal scorers for Karnataka were Vineet Michael, Ravi Kumar and Chengappa,
while Paramjeet pulled one back for the losers.
In an earlier match, highly rated Orissa beat last year's runners-up
Manipur 3-0 to finish third.
of the Month
Arrival of the 1936 Indian Olympic hockey team in Berlin
he Photograph of
the Month for February features the arrival of the 1936 Indian Olympic
hockey team in Berlin. The team went on to win India's third successive
hockey gold medal.
The Indian team set sail on June 27, 1936, on the Ranpura. At Aden,
Indian team captain Dhyan Chand met his
army colleagues from the Punjab Regiment, and the Indian team practised on their
ground. From Aden, they set sail for Marseilles.
After reaching Marseilles, the rest of their journey was by land. They went
to Paris by train, and after taking in the sights of Paris, the Indian
contingent finally reached Berlin on July 13.
large crowd that welcomed the Indian team in Berlin were freedom
fighters settled in Germany and USA who had come to greet the team with the
Indian tricolour. To keep an eye on the Indian
team, the British ambassador to Germany, Sir Eric Philips, met the
team at the railway station and accompanied them on the 20 km bus journey from Berlin to the Olympic Village.
Germany's dictator Adolf Hitler was using the Olympics as an instrument for
his Nazi propaganda. Throughout Berlin, there were thousands of swastikas, the
symbol of Nazism, and martial music was played continuously. The sounds of 'Heil
Hitler', the way the Nazis greeted Hitler, resounded everywhere.
Dotted with brick cottages, the Olympic Village was large and much better
built than the one for the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. Huge German swastikas and Olympic rings decorated the
village. The Indian team got cottage
number 113, named Elbing after an industrial town.
The Mayor of
Berlin honoured Dhyan Chand with a medal. Dhyan Chand's pass number for Berlin Olympics was 05516. It had his name and
the word "Naik" (his position in the army then) below it.
urosport television will broadcast the
first Indoor Hockey World Cup to be held in Leipzig, Germany, from
February 5 - February 9, 2003.
This will be the highest ever television exposure for an indoor hockey event. Eurosport will broadcast a total of 15 matches
(10 of them live) over the 5-day tournament. The screening will reach a potential 250 million viewers in 93 million homes in 54 countries.
Peter Cohen, FIH Hononary Secretary General, commented, "This important development is the latest achievement of FIH’s drive to get hockey on
television. It is particularly significant for indoor hockey, ahead of its inclusion in the 2005 World Games in
Peter Thondaiman from
Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu, is this edition's Visitor of the
Month. Peter had the following to say to BharatiyaHockey.org:
We play for the Parmanu Hockey Club in the Chennai Hockey League First
Division. We came third in our division in 2002, just missing the cut to get
promoted to the Senior League. Our opponents included Indian Airlines, Reserve
Bank, HVF Avadi, Chennai Telephones and ICF Perambur.
The Parmanu Hockey Club also coaches the Atomic Energy Central School (Kalpakkam)
students. The boys won the Zonals, then District, then Division and then the Inter-Division Meets. Now the school is in the top EIGHT teams in Tamil Nadu,
and will participate in the State Meet to be held at Srivilliputur. A victory in
this will take them to All-India Schools Nationals in Delhi.
One of the schoolboys, Nanda Kumar, represented Tamil Nadu sub-juniors at the
Rural National Meet in Bhuvanagiri, Karnataka. This is the first time that any
player from the school has played in the Nationals.
The above successes have injected into our club and players a spirit to
achieve more in 2003.
Peter Thondaiman, 61, 23rd Street, DAE Township, Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu, 603102
|Fun With Numbers
conclusion of the 2002 Hyderabad National Games, there have been 32
National Games held so far in India. Surprisingly, the venue that has
held the event for the maximum number of times is a Pakistani city -
Lahore! The years were 1924 (inaugural National Games), 1926, 1928, 1936,
1944 and 1946.
The city that has hosted the next highest number of times is
Delhi with 4 (1934, 1954, 1960 and 1985).
Since 1985, the National Games are being held in multiple
cities in a state, as seen from the table below:
||Thiruvanantapuram, Kozhikode, Allepy,
Kochi, Thrissur, Kollam
||Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala,