Gurbux Singh's Autobiography Reveals Memories Of Dhyan Chand

Article by Press Trust of India, Photograph credit IBGNews

n his prime, Dhyan Chand had the world queueing up to watch his wizardry with the hockey stick, but the politics of Indian sports once forced him to queue up for a ticket to watch the sport he defined, a new book has claimed.

Olympic gold-medallist and former captain Gurbux Singh, in his autobiography titled 'My Golden Days', has shed fresh light on the legend of India's greatest athlete, whose birth anniversary is celebrated as the National Sports Day.

It was during the 1962 Ahmedabad International that the tussle between National Institute of Sports (NIS) Patiala and Indian Hockey Federation came to fore, and Dhyan Chand ended up bearing the brunt of it.

Dhyan Chand was then the chief coach at NIS Patiala, and travelled to Ahmedabad with his trainees to watch the tournament, a one-off meet organised by the first Inspector General of Police of Gujarat, J. D. Nagarvala, the former chairman of selectors.

"He was not given admission card. A person like Dhyan Chand was compelled to stand in queue with his wards at every match to buy tickets. It was sickening," Gurbux describes in the book.

Describing Dhyan Chand as a complete player, Gurbux writes:"Balbir Singh Sr. is probably the greatest scorer that India has ever produced. K. D. Singh 'Babu' was probably the greatest distributor and dribbler of the ball. What about Dhyan Chand then? Then answer is simple: The greatest, most complete player was Dhyan Chand."

Remembering his first close interaction with 'Dada Dhyan Chand', he writes: "It was in 1955, when I turned out for Freshers' Club and played regular matches against Punjab Regiment managed by Dhyan Chand. I was asked by Dhyan Chand to play for them in Delhi and I appeared for Punjab Regiment against Indian Railways," the former India captain recalls.

"I could witness the genius of Dhyan Chand in the camp held at Patiala in 1959... His complete mastery of the bully and his half-volley was such that the naked eye could not catch the movement," he writes as he goes on to profile 27 other greats.

The book also has a rare collection of photographs, including of a match between India and England at the backdrop of the iconic Lord's balcony in a 1967 pre-Olympic meet, which was inaugurated by Queen Elizabeth II.

The book begins with the Tokyo Olympics 1964 when India reclaimed the gold medal from Pakistan, in a golden phase where India went on to win the Asian Games gold in 1966 before the game's gradual decline.

The recognition for Gurbux, a full-back who led India to the 1966 Asian Games gold, came in 1967 when he was awarded the Arjuna. "I was given third class fare from Kolkata to Delhi and received the award from President Zakir Hussain. There was no money, it was just the award and the certificate. We did not even get a blazer or tie then. I'm not complaining but this was how it was when we played," he says.

"I'm very lucky to see 50 years of hockey from close quarters. First as a player, then a manager, coach and journalist. This is just a sincere effort to document my years in hockey," he concludes.

Indian Men's Hockey Wins 2017 TOISA Team Of The Year Award

Article and Graphic courtesy The Times of India

he Indian men's hockey team which won the 2017 Asia Cup was named the Team of the Year at the 3rd Mahindra Scorpio Times of India Sports Awards (TOISA). The event, powered by All-Out, was held in Mumbai on 26th February, 2018.

Apart from the Asia Cup title win, the Indian men's hockey team took home bronze medals at the Hockey World League Final in Bhubanesvar and the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. 2017 highlights include back-to-back wins over Pakistan by 7-1 and 6-1 in the Hockey World League Semi-finals in London.

The other nominees for the Team of the Year award were the Indian women's hockey team that won the Women's Asia Cup, the women's cricket team that reached the final of the ICC World Cup, the men's cricket team that delivered the most successful 12-month period in Indian cricket history (and is ranked No 1 in Tests and ODIs), the men's football team which has been unbeaten for 13 straight matches and Aizawl FC which last year became the first team from the north east to win the I-League.

The 6-member TOISA jury comprised Abhinav Bindra, Bhaichung Bhutia, Devendra Jhajharia, Reeth Abraham and Gautam Gambhir, along with the Chief Editor of Times Internet Ltd, Rajesh Kalra.

Rajesh Kalra, a member of the Prime Minister's Task Force on the preparations for the next three Olympic said, "Hockey has this tremendous ability to unite Indian sports fans, and to see the reaction to India's wins in the men's and women's Asia Cup was very heartening."

Fellow juror Gautam Gambhir, a two-time World Cup (ODI & T20) winner, was of the opinion that had the Indian women's cricket team lifted the World Cup - they were beaten by nine runs in the final - there would have been no debate in his mind as who deserved to be crowned Team of the Year.

At last year's TOISA, the u-19 men's hockey team which lifted the Junior World Cup was voted Team of the Year.

In other awards, Harmanpreet Singh of the Asia Cup-winning Indian men's team, and Savita Punia of the Asia Cup-winning Indian women's team were jointly adjudged Hockey Player of the Year for 2017.

Harmanpreet, 22, was the men's team's leading scorer in 2017 with 18 goals, including being the top scorer at the Asia Cup with 7, a key force in the team clinching the trophy. During the HWL Final quarter-finals, he scored India's second goal doing regular time and then the winning shot during penalty shootouts as world no. 3 Belgium were knocked out. In the bronze-medal game, he scored a goal as India beat Germany 2-1.

Savita, 27, was a massive factor in the women's team lifting the Asia Cup for the first time since 2004. She allowed just five goals all tournament long - keeping clean sheets against Singapore and Malaysia - and in the final pulled off a brilliant save with the scores locked at 4-4 to help India beat China and secure passage to the 2018 World Cup.

The pair was nominated in a tough pool of contenders which featured Men's Asia Cup-winning captain Manpreet Singh, Women's Asia Cup-winning captain Rani Rampal, the high-scoring Gurjeet Kaur and immensely reliable Gurjant Singh.

The jury deliberated at length on the success of each of the individual nominees in hockey. The names of Savita and Gurjeet Kaur, who was the women's team's leading goal-scorer last year with 19, were the most discussed; in the end, it was Savita's brilliance during the Asia Cup, the only title the team won in 2017, that swung the votes her way.

"From a team perspective, the men's and women's team's wins in the Asia Cup were what had to be valued the most, and in that regards Savita was just too good," said Kalra. "Even now, just recalling Savita's saves during the penalty shoot-outs in the final gives you goosebumps. She really was the difference in the final, and the way each of her team-mates as well as the coach Harendra Singh spoke of her dependability really underlines how critical she was in India winning the Women's Asia Cup."

Australia's HookIn2Hockey Programme Conducted In Rural Odisha

Article by Alexie Beovich, Photograph courtesy Hockey Australia

ockey Australia has completed its 5th HookIn2Hockey programme in India since 2016. This programme is held in conjunction with Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and Tata Steel's Corporate Social Responsibility team.

Over 500 children in the rural are of Gomardhi, Odisha, received coaching lessons, an opportunity to compete in a tournament, and Hookin2Hockey packs comprising shin pads, balls, backpacks, singlet jerseys and hockey sticks.

The HookIn2Hockey program is gender-equal and provides equal opportunity to both boys and girls for participation in playing and coaching. It encourages children to attend school, get an education and live a healthy lifestyle.

Tata Steel employs coaches for the Hookin2Hockey programmes. Providing jobs to coaches ensures that the programmes are delivered professionally for the benefit of developing young athletes.

The athletes get an opportunity to be selected for Tata Steel's Hockey Academy. Any athletes who is selected to join the academy receives coached training, equipment and healthy food to benefit their development.

James Liggins, who has been on-ground for all five trips to India, noted the immediate impacts of the project.

"You can see the positive impact straight away - the smiles on these kids' faces when they receive a hockey stick or a participation medal make it worthwhile," said James. "Hookin2Hockey offers them an opportunity to be part of a team sport in a healthy and fun environment, something they might not get to experience otherwise."

Railways Win 8th Hockey India Women's National Hockey Championship

Photograph credit Hockey India

he 8th Hockey India Women's National Hockey Championship ('A' Division) was played at the Astroturf Hockey Ground in Ranchi, from February 1-11, 2018.

20 teams from all over India took part in the tournament, and were grouped into the following pools:

  • Pool A: Railways, Punjab, Chattisgadh, Tamil Nadu, Mumbai
  • Pool B: Hariyana, Odisha, Bhopal, Karnataka, HIM Academy (Solan)
  • Pool C: Madhya Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, Gangpur-Odisha, Assam, Rajasthan
  • Pool D: Bharatiya Vishvavidyalaya Sangh (AIU), Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Kodagu (Coorg)

Railways with an all-win record (7 wins in 7 matches) won the 8th Hockey India Women's National Hockey Championship with the following match results:

Stage Date Railways Madhya Pradesh
Pool Feb 1 beat Tamil Nadu 18-0 beat Assam 10-0
  Feb 2 beat Chattisgadh 12-0 beat Gangpur-Odisha 4-0
  Feb 4 beat Punjab 4-1 drew with Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy 2-2
  Feb 6 beat Mumbai 13-0 beat Rajasthan 8-0
Quarters Feb 8 beat Karnataka 14-0 beat Maharashtra 8-1
Semis Feb 10 beat Jharkhand 6-3 beat Hariyana 2-0
FINAL Feb 11 beat Madhya Pradesh 4-0

In the bronze medal match, Haryana beat home team Jharkhand 2-0.

Of the 8 Hockey India women's nationals held so far (2011 - 2018), Railways has won 7 of these championships. The only exception was in 2013, when Hariyana upset Railways to win the women's nationals.

Bengaluru University Wins 25th Nehru All India Inter-University Hockey Tournament

Photograph courtesy K. R. Bharath

he Fitness World 25th Nehru All-India Inter-University Hockey Tournament was held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in Delhi from February 10-19, 2018. This is the silver jubilee edition of an important feeder route to the national team.

Unlike in the US where inter-university national championships (e.g., basketball) are shown live on television, in India these inter-university tournaments are held in media obscurity and public apathy.

16 universities from all over India took part in the silver jubilee edition of the tournament, and were grouped into the following pools:

  • Pool A: Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education (Gvalior), Guru Nanak Dev University (Amtritsar), Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University (Jaunpur), Sri Ramasvami Memorial (SRM) University (Chennai)
  • Pool B: Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth (Varanasi), Bengaluru University, Sant Gadge Baba University (Amaravati), Punjabi University (Patiala)
  • Pool C: Punjab University (Chandigadh), Shivaji University (Kolhapur), Utkal University (Bhubanesvar), Acharya Nagarjuna University (Guntur)
  • Pool D: University of Madras, Sambalpur University, Maharshi Dayanand University (Rohtak), Savitribai Phule University (Pune)

Bengaluru University won the 25th Nehru All-India Inter-University Hockey Tournament with the following match results:

Stage Date Bengaluru University Date Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University
Pool Feb 10 lost to Punjabi University 5-6 Feb 10 drew with Guru Nanak Dev University 2-2
  Feb 12 beat Sant Gadge Baba University 19-1 Feb 12 beat Lakshmibai National Institute of Physical Education 7-2
  Feb 14 beat Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapeeth 5-0 Feb 14 drew with Sri Ramasvami Memorial University 2-2
Quarters Feb 16 beat Guru Nanak Dev University 5-5 (3-1 SO) Feb 17 beat Punjabi University 2-2 (3-2 SO)
Semis Feb 18 beat University of Madras 2-2 (4-3 SO) Feb 18 beat Punjab University 3-1
FINAL Feb 19 beat Veer Bahadur Singh Purvanchal University 2-0

In the hardline match for third place, Punjab University beat University of Madras 5-2.

Photograph of the Month

he Photograph of the Month for March 2018 is the movie poster for Akshay Kumar's Gold.

The actor released the poster on Twitter with the following text: "Every cloud has a silver lining but with ur love my clouds got a lining of Gold! As my age #TurnsGold, here's the poster of a film close to my heart."

Money Matters

Photograph credit R. V. Moorthy of The Hindu

he state government of Odisha is the new chief sponsor of the national men's and women's hockey teams for the next 5 years. This is the first time any state government is sponsoring a national team in India.

Sahara, who were sponsors of Indian hockey since 2004, will no longer be associated with hockey in India.

India's men and women national teams will sport Odisha on their jerseys for the next 5 years. The new logo and national team jerseys were unveiled in a grand event held in the state capital Bhubanesvar, where the Indian men's and women's teams were present, along with their coaches and support staff.

The newly designed logo on the Indian national hockey team jersey is a representation of Odisha - the Konark Wheel, the state's famed coastline, endangered Olive Ridley turtles, Odissi dance form and hockey.

Speaking during the function, Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik said, "Hockey in Odisha is more than a sport, it's a way of life, especially in our tribal regions where children learn to walk with hockey sticks. No wonder Odisha has produced some of India's finest hockey talent. This is a first instance where a state government will not just be promoting a sport within its boundaries but will be supporting and nurturing the sport at the national level. This sponsorship of Indian hockey is Odisha's gift to the nation."

Others attending the event were legends Dhanraj Pillai, Dileep Tirkey and Viren Rasquinha were also present, along with FIH and IOA President Narinder Batra and IOA Secretary General Rajeev Mehta.

Thanking the state government for its continuous support, FIH and IOA President Batra said, "Like Delhi is the capital of India, Bombay the financial capital of the country and Bengaluru the IT capital, for me Bhubanesvar is the sports capital of the country."

Odisha is regarded as one of the hubs of hockey in India, and has produced greats like Dilip Tirkey, Ignace Tirkey and Lazarus Barla in the past. The current Indian teams also has the likes of Birendra Lakra, Amit Rohidas, Deepsan Tirkey and Namita Toppo to name a few.

Odisha-based Kalinga Lancers are the defending Hockey India League champions, having won the 2017 edition. The capital city of Odisha, Bhubanesvar has hosted international hockey tournaments like the 2014 Champions Trophy, 2017 Hockey World League Final and will host the 2018 Hockey World Cup later this year.

Media Matters

he trailer of Akshay Kumar starrer Gold has been released. The clip is available on YouTube at the link:

Director Reema Kagti says, "Mine is a fictional take on what actually happened. The game of hockey features prominently in the plot. But there is also be a strong human drama playing at the forefront. And it isn't be just the Olympic victory in 1948 we are looking at. Gold will look at 12 crucial years in India's history."

The film's co-producer Ritesh Sidhwani said, "This is not a biopic. It is a fictional story but is set against a real backdrop of India between 1933-48, about what the country was, its sports, about hockey. It is not based on any single character."

Apart from Akshay Kumar, Gold also features Mouni Roy, Kunal Kapoor, Amit Sadh, Vineet Kumar Singh, Nikita Dutta and Sunny Kaushal in key roles. The film is produced by Ritesh Sidhwani and Farhan Akthar's Excel Entertainment.

Visitor of the Month

he March 2018 Visitor of the Month is Shiv's Coaching Academy, who sent their Developing Coaches and Players Coaching e-newsletter to The URL of the newsletter is: The current newsletter #6 contains the following content:

Tactical: Strategic moves and plays which are executed in the pocket of the Right Offensive Quadrant (ROQ), also knows as the Play Making Space (PMS).

Technical: Developing the specific technical skills required to play effectively in this play making space.

Multimedia: Video clips supporting the core themes of this issue.

Fun With Numbers

Statistics by B. G. Joshi

he March 2018 edition of Fun with Numbers is on the Sultan Azlan Shah Men's Hockey Tournament, the 27th edition of which is being played in Ipoh, Malaysia, from March 3-10, 2018.

Host Malaysia, along with 5 teams ranked in the top 10 in the world will take part in the tournament. The country records of the participating teams in the 27th Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament is given below.

  • Malaysia has participated in all 26 editions of the tournament held so far, but has never won the gold
  • Malaysia has more losses (76) than wins (39), and more goals against (395) than goals for (273) in the tournament
  • Word no. 10 Ireland is making its debut in the tournament
World Rank Country App MP Wins Losses Draws GF GA Best Finish
1 Australia 17 101 69 15 17 347 171 9 Gold (1983, 98, 2004, 05, 07, 11, 13, 14, 16)
2 Argentina 4 23 16 6 1 55 41 1 Gold (2008)
6 India 20 120 56 49 15 261 237 5 Gold (1985, 91, 95, 2009, 2010-Joint Winner)
7 England/Great Britain 9 51 21 19 11 103 100 2 Gold (1994, 2017)
12 Malaysia 26 149 39 76 34 273 395 5 Silver (1985, 2007, 09, 13, 14)