When India And Pakistan Battled For First Place In Tokyo


Article by Naveen Peter, Article and Photograph courtesy Olympic Channel
Kenyan team in photo - Avtar Singh Sohal (captain) and no. 6 Silu Fernandes

he selection of the Indian hockey team for the 1964 Olympics began with the national championship in New Delhi. After the nationals, as many as 77 players were shortlisted for a month-long camp in Jalandhar under coach Habul Mukherjee.

Harbinder Singh, the former Indian forward, said. "The initial group of 77 was first reduced to 55, and then to 36. The final squad of 18 was to be decided after a three-day selection trial. Such was the competition that it had to go into the fourth day before the team was finalised."

Moreover, with no major disagreements within the team and regionalism yet to creep into the setup, the Indian hockey team for Tokyo 1964 was a strongly-knit unit. India's convincing wins in its preparatory tours to New Zealand and Malaysia ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, which were being held in Asia for the first time, gave the side enough confidence heading into the Games.

Led by captain Charanjit Singh, India won 2-0 against Belgium in the opening group match. This was followed by Indian hockey's first-ever draw at the Olympic Games, a 1-1 tie against Germany. The Indian hockey team trailed Germany from the 20th minute, and even stared at a rare possibility of a group-stage defeat. But Prithipal Singh, who impressed many at his debut four years ago at the Rome Olympics, ensured that India pulled one back from a penalty corner.

That draw was followed by another 1-1 result against Spain, before India got into their groove and recorded four consecutive wins to make it to the semi-finals as the pool toppers. Defender Prithipal Singh was in top form, netting 11 goals, and the forward line of Harbinder Singh and Joginder Singh proved to be a terror for the opposition defence.

Incessant rain in the semi-finals didn't slow them down either as India beat Australia 3-1 in slushy underfoot conditions. It meant that the Indian hockey team now had a chance to win back their Olympic title. And once again standing in their way, for the third consecutive Olympic final, was Pakistan.

India vs. Pakistan is a match that hockey fans across the world crave for. The matches are largely free-flowing and a delight to watch. But the Olympic final at Komazawa Hockey Field was very different.

"Relations between the two teams were not very cordial. We were not on talking terms. Against India, Pakistan employed a very rough game," explained Harbinder Singh. At one point, the match got so rough that the umpire had to intervene and line up both the teams, telling the players to 'behave' themselves.

After a goalless first-half, India were rewarded with a penalty corner five minutes after half-time. Prithipal Singh drove in with a fierce hit from the top of the striking circle. His shot struck Pakistani captain Manzoor Hussain's foot on the goal line, handing India a penalty stroke. Mohinder Lal made no mistake from the spot to hand India the lead.

Defending champions Pakistan came back roaring and created many scoring opportunities in order to tie the game. However, standing like a rock was Indian goalkeeper Shankar Lakshman, who blocked their every move. The shot-stopper from Mhow - a cantonment area in Indore in the state of Madhya Pradesh - pulled out two brilliant saves in the goal from Munir Dar's short corners, as India held on to the slender lead to regain the Olympic hockey title.

The victorious Indian team celebrated with a traditional bhangra dance once they sealed the gold medal. Shankar Lakshman ended with the Man-of-the-Match award. India had played 9 matches in 12 days in Tokyo - winning seven and drawing two.

As India prepares to return to Tokyo for another Olympic adventure next year, the memories of the 1964 Games will be a guiding force for the team.

When India And Pakistan Battled For Last Place In London


Based on Article and Newspaper Clipping from Stick2Hockey.com

t seemed to be a leaf straight out of Ripley's Believe It or Not. The stage was the 6th World Cup at Willesden, England, the first hockey World Cup to be staged on an artificial surface.

Eight-time Olympic champions India vs. three-time Olympic champions Pakistan, with the prior two Olympics (1980, 1984) being won by these two countries. One-time world champion India vs. three-time world champions Pakistan, with the prior three World Cups (1975, 1978, 1982) being won by these two countries.

India and Pakistan, who had played for the Olympic gold on three occasions, and for the World title once, were now battling for 11th vs. 12 place, and to avoid the ignominy of being left holding the wooden spoon. This unthinkable and shocking matchup for last place happened on October 17, 34 years ago.

In the lead up to the World Cup, what pushed India and Pakistan to the brink was the scheduling of the Asian Games immediately prior to the tournament. The 1986 Asian Games final took place on September 29 in Seoul, and the World Cup started on October 4 - less than a week after an exacting and demanding continental championship.

Both nations alighted in London reeling from fatigue and benumbed by defeat. While Pakistan struggled to come to terms with a 1-2 defeat to the new force South Korea in the Asian Games hockey final, India had missed the Asian Games hockey final for the first time in history.

Not surprisingly, Pakistan began their World Cup campaign disastrously, losing to Argentina 1-3. India played the next day and lost to Poland 0-1.

Further defeats followed: Pakistan went down to The Netherlands 1-2, and India to Spain (1-2) and Australia (0-6).

Pakistan appeared to effect a turnaround in fortunes with a sensational 5-3 victory over New Zealand, after having trailed 2-3 with just minutes to go. India gained some solace with a 2-0 win over Canada.

But it all fell apart for Pakistan when they lost 1-3 to England and crashed out of the semi-final race. This was followed by another defeat for the Green Shirts, when the Soviet Union (who finished fourth) beat them 2-0.

India forced a creditable 2-2 draw with West Germany (eventual bronze medallists), but were already out of the race by then.

In the playoffs for the lower placings, further setbacks awaited the once invincible Asians giants. Pakistan lost to Canada 1-2 in the classification crossover and India came up croppers against New Zealand by the same score to set up an incredulous match. In the battle for the wooden spoon, Pakistan won 3-2 in extra-time to leave India at the bottom of the heap. Australia went on to win the 1986 World Cup, while the losing finalist England formed the nucleus of a Great Britain side which won the 1988 Olympic gold.

Since that dreadful day, there have been similar or worse disasters for the Asian giants. Pakistan finished last at the 2010 New Delhi World Cup, and India finished last at the 2012 London Olympics. India failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, while Pakistan failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics (postponed to 2021), and the 2014 World Cup in The Hague. But it was on that October day in 1986, when the hockey world got churned!

5th Death Anniversary Of Former IHF Chief Ashwini Kumar


Article by K. Arumugam , Article and Photo credit Stick2Hockey.com
Ashwini Kumar (left) succeeded Naval Tata (right) as the IHF Chief

ctober 19th marks the fifth death anniversary of Ashwini Kumar, one of the finest sports administrators that India has produced. He was not only passionate about hockey, but later evolved to become the reliable deputy of Juan Antonio Samaranch, the longest serving president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), thus carving for himself a niche in the global Olympic movement.

Ashwini Kumar was a multi-faceted personality - he was a connoisseur in diverse fields such as music, sports and literature. He was an excellent orator, prolific writer and expert on Indian philosophy. His contributions in all the fields he was involved with, like the IOC, Indian Olympic Association (IOA), music, literature, police service, etc., are legendary.

He is known in India as the most-debated - though he should have been the most admired - president of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF). For many of his era, he was veritably Mr. Hockey in India. A decorated Imperial Police Officer, his first love, of course, was hockey, so much so he even named his first child Hockey.

Ashwini Kumar took over the IHF mantle in 1958, a couple of months before hockey was played for the first time in the Asian Games that year. India lost the Asian Games hockey title to Pakistan on goal aggregate, and the young Inspector General faced the ire of the nation. Then came the Rome disaster, where yet again India lost to Pakistan in the 1960 Olympic final.

Ashwink Kumar organised at least 12 test series in India to boost the morale of the team, in order to prepare for Indian hockey's resurrection. India went on to win the title at the 1964 Olympics and the 1966 Asian Games, the latter without conceding a single goal!

His long tenure of leading the Indian hockey had its own merits and demerits, often portrayed as controversial. India winning 'just' bronze in two successive Olympics - 1968 and 1972 - was the main reason for him getting negative press. Those 'failures' were often attributed to his 'whimsical' team selection. He faced a severe challenge to his chair when one of the top businessmen of the times, M. A. M. Ramaswamy, entered the ring to contest the elections for IHF chief.

The Federation International de Hockey (FIH) obviously reposed faith in the emerging leadership than on its own vice-president! It was in that phase one day that the then Prime Minister Smt Indira Gandhi asked Ashwini Kumar to relinquish the IHF post in 1975. His long 17-year reign came to an end a couple of months before India won the Kuala Lumpur World Cup.

Ashwini Kumar then turned his eyes to the IOC - he had been the driving force behind Raja Bhalindra Singh, the ruling deity of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) for decades. He became IOA Secretary for many spells.

Controversial or not, his persona and dynamism did much to steady Indian hockey's flight through a very turbulent period.

Ashwini Kumar died in New Delhi at his Friends Colony residence on 19th October, 2015.

The Stellar Role Of The Army Sports Control Board In Indian Hockey


Ambala Brigade Inter-Unit Sports Day, 1919
Article by historian Diljit Singh Bahra, photograph Edward Ricketts family collection

he Indian army's hockey teams have been prominent on the national scene as far as one can remember, be it the National Championship or a plethora of All India tournaments where their units have been regular on the podium.

The most illustrious army exponent to wield the stick was The Wizard, Dhyan Chand, doing so while rising from the rank of Sepoy to Major, and, in his wake propagating the Indian hockey magic that was to take the world by storm.

During the British era itself, hockey was a very popular sport in the army. Some 130 regiments, some fielding two or three teams, played hockey with much enthusiasm and vigour.

Army Sports Control Board (ASCB) India was formed in March 1919, in line with the Army Sports Control Board in Aldershot, UK. Its purpose was to promote and supervise sports in the army in India, and co-ordinate sports with civilian sides. Soldiers could play in the civilian tournaments under the aegis of the local association, and also play for their army regimental teams under ASCB jurisdiction.

In 1922, the post of Inspector of Physical Training was instituted. The post holder also became ASCB's honorary secretary. An All-India central school of physical training was established. It had two locations, one in Ambala during winters and one in the hill station of Kasauli during summers.

Lt. Colonel Bruce Turnbull was appointed as the first Inspector of Physical Training in 1922. He had a general interest in all sports, but became heavily involved in Indian hockey, both military and civil. While holding the post, Bruce Turnbull was promoted to Colonel midway of the following year.

Major Ian Burn-Murdoch, OBE, of the 32nd Sikh Pioneers was appointed Commandant and Superintendent of Physical Training (East) Command in November 1923, and posted to the headquarters in Ambala in February 1924. He succeeded Col. Bruce Turnbull as President of Indian Hockey Federation, and was largely responsible for selecting the team for the Amsterdam 1928 Olympic Games.

Turnbull represented ASCB India in meetings with the civilian associations, where he championed the need for a central association for hockey in the country. Major Edwards Ricketts of the 23rd Sikh Pioneers was a member of the Umpires Committee. Turnbull and Ricketts would go on to umpire at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympic hockey tournament.

ASCB India organized the hockey tour of New Zealand in 1926. Not many would have imagined that the tour would have an impact on not just Indian hockey, but on the sport worldwide. And that the expedition to the Antipodes would reveal a hockey wizard who is revered by the sport as the best of all time.

Hockey was very popular in army circles, and was of a good standard. However, Bruce Turnbull, who had watched, played and umpired international level hockey in England and Scotland had said: "I know of only one Indian who would find a place in a national side, and he is Dhyan Chand of the 4/1st Punjab Regiment - the centre-forward who scored over 100 goals for the Indian Army in New Zealand. His 'selling the dummy' must be the envy of many a rugger player."

There is no doubt that ASCB played a key role in developing hockey in India, and which eventually led to the formation of the Indian Hockey Federation. Subsequently, be it colonial India or after Independence, the Services, which combined talents from Air Force, Navy and Army, has shone on both the domestic and international scene. Triple Olympians Shankar Lakshman and Haripal Singh, winger R. S. Bhola, Balbir Singh Jr., Col. Balbir Singh, Padam Shree Ignace Tirkey, and many more are products of the Services hockey team.

Photograph of the Month


Based on article by historian Diljit Singh Bahra, Article and Graphic courtesy Stick2Hockey.com

he Photograph of the Month for November 2020 is of Jaipal Singh and Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad. They both were students in England in the 1920s, and were members of the All India Club that was formed for social and sporting activities of the students.

The club's team consisted of Indian resident students at various British universities, the bulk of them coming from Cambridge and London, though the team included players from Manchester, Edinburgh and Oxford as well. Jaipal Singh, a student of St. John's College at Oxford, was the Honorary Secretary of the All India Hockey Club.

In the summer of 1925, Jaipal mooted, and then executed, the idea of a 3-week hockey tour of the Continent. This tour, which took place from December 17, 1925 to January 5, 1926, is believed to be the first British hockey club ever to tour Europe.

Jaipal Singh would go on to captain India in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, which started India's golden reign in Olympic hockey. He later became a Member of Parliament in India.

Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad, who was graduating from St. Catharine's College, Cambridge, at the time of the tour, would later become the President of India.

A fascinating article on the first tour of Europe by a British hockey club has been written by historian Dil Bahra, and is available here on Stick2Hockey.com.

Money Matters


Article by Mark Brown of The Guardian, Photograph by Misan Harriman

t was one of the defining photos of this summer's civil rights protests, and was all the more remarkable for being taken by a man who taught himself photography on YouTube after receiving a camera from his wife on his 39th birthday.

This month Misan Harriman, a former City of London headhunter, became the first black male photographer to shoot the cover of British Vogue. Also, Sotheby's auctioned his first print, seen above, to raise money for the Anthony Nolan blood cancer charity.

Harriman's life has been a whirlwind since he travelled to a Black Lives Matter protest in central London in June. Near the US embassy, he spotted 18-year-old Darcy Bourne by the side of the road with her placard which simply said: "Why Is Ending Racism a Debate?"

He asked if she minded having her picture taken. At the same time a protestor behind her raised a fist in solidarity. The resulting image went viral after being shared by figures including the Vogue editor, Edward Enninful, athlete Dina Asher-Smith, racing car driver Lewis Hamilton, and Martin Luther King III.

Harriman, 42, told the Guardian he was drawn to the placard. "It's a question that makes all of us reflect on why we haven't asked ourselves this sooner?"

Bourne, an England under-21 hockey player, said she had only just written the sign. "The paint was still wet when the photo was taken," she said. "I wrote that question because I'm in disbelief every day that we still have to fight for equality, and I wanted to remind people of the purpose of the movement."

Harriman approached Sotheby's about selling a print to raise money for the Anthony Nolan charity, after a friend who had cancer told him about its work. The print will be on view at Sotheby's London headquarters from 11-14 October, while at the same time being offered at an online auction with an estimate of 3,000 - 5,000.

Note: The print was sold for 10,062, more than double its estimated price, in Sotheby's online auction on 14th October.

Media Matters


he International Hockey Federation (FIH) and NAGRA have collaborated to launch the website version of Watch.Hockey (https://Watch.Hockey). This is a follow-up product to the Watch.Hockey mobile app that was launched in September 2020, and which garnered over 20,000 active users in just one month.

The Watch.tv website displays live matches and scores, replays, on-demand, news, statistics and more. Using the same account as for the mobile app, hockey fans will also see personalized recommendations such as 'Continue Watching', 'For You' and 'What's Trending' as part of the service.

Watch.tv is the latest product in FIH's digital "Home of Hockey" build outs, with the aim of bringing greater visibility and growth to the sport of hockey.

Fun With Numbers


Statistics by B. G. Joshi

he November 2020 edition of Fun with Numbers is on brothers who have won Olympic or World titles.

  • Two pairs of brothers won the gold in the 2008 Beijing Olympics - Christopher Zeller/Phillip Zeller and Timo Wess/Benjamin Wess. They repeated this feat in the 2012 London Olympics
  • Two pairs of brothers won the gold in the 1982 Mumbai World Cup - Samiullah Khan/Kaleemullah Khan and Manzoor-ul-Hasan/Rashid-ul-Hasan
  • Two pairs of brothers won the gold in the 2002 Cologne Champions Trophy - Geert Jan Derikx/Rob Derikx and Ronald Brouwer/Matthijs Brouwer. They repeated this feat in the 2003 Amsterdam Champions Trophy
  • Brothers Christopher Zeller/Phillip Zeller have won both Olympic (2008, 2012) and World Cup (2006) titles together
Tournament Country Player Player Gold Medal Brother Brother Gold Medal
Olympics India William Goodsir Cullen 1928 Amsterdam Ernest Goodsir Cullen 1936 Berlin
  India Dhyan Chand 1932 Los Angeles, 1936 Berlin Roop Singh 1932 Los Angeles, 1936 Berlin
  Pakistan Munir Dar 1960 Rome Tanvir Dar 1968 Mexico City
  Germany Stefan Tewes 1992 Barcelona Jan Peter Tewes 1992 Barcelona
  Germany Timo Wess 2008 Beijing, 2012 London Benjamin Wess 2008 Beijing, 2012 London
  Germany Christopher Zeller 2008 Beijing, 2012 London Phillip Zeller 2008 Beijing, 2012 London
  Argentina Pedro Ibarra 2016 Rio de Janeiro Isodora Ibarra 2016 Rio de Janeiro
World Cup Netherlands Nico Spits 1973 Amsterdam Frans Spits 1973 Amsterdam
  Pakistan Samiullah Khan 1982 Mumbai Kaleemullah Khan 1982 Mumbai
  Pakistan Manzoor-ul-Hasan (Sr.) 1982 Mumbai Rashid-ul-Hasan 1982 Mumbai
  Germany Christopher Zeller 2006 Monchengladbach Phillip Zeller 2006 Monchengladbach
Champions Trophy Netherlands Geert Jan Derikx 2002 Cologne, 2003 Amsterdam Rob Derikx 2002 Cologne, 2003 Amsterdam
  Netherlands Ronald Brouwer 2002 Cologne, 2003 Amsterdam Matthijs Brouwer 2002 Cologne, 2003 Amsterdam
  Spain Ramon Alegre 2004 Lahore David Alegre 2004 Lahore
Tournament Mix Pakistan Khursheed Aslam Olympics - 1960 Rome Akhtar-ul-Islam World Cup - 1971 Barcelona
  India V. J. Peter Olympics - 1964 Tokyo V. J. Philips World Cup - 1975 Kuala Lumpur
  India Harbinder Singh Olympics - 1964 Tokyo Harjinder Singh Chimni World Cup - 1975 Kuala Lumpur