1975 World Cup Winner Michael Kindo Passes Away

Graphic of Michael Kindo courtesy Indian Olympic Association

ndia's 1975 Hockey World Cup gold medallist Michael Kindo died at Ispat General Hospital in Rourkela on December 31, 2020. Having been bed-ridden for a while, Kindo fought bravely and eventually succumbed to age-related illnesses. He was 73, and is survived by his wife, a son, and two daughters.

A full-back in his playing days, Kindo was a member of the Indian team that won the bronze in the 1971 World Cup, silver in the 1973 World Cup and gold in the 1975 World Cup, where India beat arch-rivals Pakistan in the final.

Michael won bronze in the 1972 Munich Olympics, scoring three goals in that edition.

Kindo was bestowed with the Arjuna Puraskar in 1972, becoming the first Adivasi to win the award.

He represented Bharatiya Nau Sena (Indian Navy) in domestic competitions, and was the bulwark for Services when they won the 1973 National Championship in Mumbai.

Kindo, who hailed from Jharkhand and passed away in Odisha is considered as the one who started the tribal revolution in Indian hockey back in the 1970s, Kindo is the forerunner of many tribals from Odisha, Jharkhand and Bihar who went on to represent India in hockey.

Kindo battled against financial hardships all through his life. In the book the book 'Olympic Captain Dilip Tirkey', written by K. Arumugam, Kindo is quoted as saying, "We were strictly amateurs. If we won a match, we got a garland, a few seconds of applause and then we went home. By bus or cycle rickshaw, it hardly mattered. The next day we had to work for our bread and butter. We only played for pride. All stars of our days, save an exception here and there, struggled to have a decent, middle class life."

In the 1975 World Cup semi-final, India was trailing host Malaysia 1-2, with only 10 minutes left in the game. In his autobiography The Golden Hat Trick, the manager of the team Balbir Singh Sr. describes a key substitution at this stage in the semi-final.

With the minutes ticking away, I beckoned to Aslam to go in as a substitute. I signed the substitution card, embraced Aslam and kissed his amulet, after which the sturdy defender ran in. I wanted to pull out Surjeet Singh, but coach Bodhi did not agree on the plea that Surjeet was too sensitive a player and would break down if he were called out. Aslam was brought in at the cost of Kindo, a better defender and tackler than Surjeet.

India went on to win the semi-final 3-2 in extra-time. The winning team was kept intact for the final, so Kindo was on the bench when India won the final 2-1 against Pakistan.

A freak ankle injury denied him a place in the 1976 Montreal Olympics. Kindo quit the game after India's dismal performance at Montreal, where India returned medal-less from the Olympics for the first time.

1973 World Cup captain M. P. Ganesh, who was Kindo's Services teammate, remembered him to be an outstanding full-back. "His tackling, interception and covering of areas were superb. I have no doubt that he was one of the best full-backs in the world. He was sturdy and would be all over the field. Off the pitch, he would make us laugh with his jokes and entertained us with songs," he said.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on his official Twitter handle, "Deeply saddened to know the passing away of hockey legend and Arjuna Awardee #MichaelKindo, a tribal icon and part of India's World Cup winning team of 1975. My thoughts are with his family and fans."

Grassroots Hockey Gets Boost With Naval Tata Hockey Center

Inauguration of the Naval Tata Hockey High Performance Center in Bhubanesvar

he Odisha Naval Tata Hockey High Performance Centre (HPC) in Bhubanesvar inaugurated its boys residential programme at the Kalinga Hockey Complex on 22 January. Tusharkanti Behera, Minister for Sports and Youth Services, Electronics & IT in the Odisha government, was present for the launch.

A total of 31 cadets have been selected for the first batch of the programme. These players, all under 17 years in age, were chosen from a two-week long selection camp that was held from 17 November to 1 December, 2020 in Bhubanesvar.

The distribution of the 31 trainees is 21 from Odisha, 7 from Manipur, 2 from Uttar Pradesh and 1 from Assam. The Hockey HPC has also created a standby list of eight players (with five of those from Odisha).

The government-run sports hostels in Panposh and Sundargarh, which are Regional Development Centres, will serve as a stepping stone to the Odisha Naval Tata Hockey HPC.

Dutch hockey legend Floris Jan Bovelander has helped the Naval Tata Hockey Academy in developing the HPC. Praising the facilities available at the site, Bovelander said. "The Kalinga stadium is designed such that the trainees can live in a bio-bubble. Their hostel is next to the pitch, and their food is prepared in the canteen, which is also within the stadium complex and managed by the Tatas, so we can control the hygiene factor. We have an experienced nutritionist and a mental trainer on board, in addition to a strength and conditioning expert."

Bovelander also talked about the motivational aspect of hosting the HPC at Kalinga Stadium. "Training on the pitch and living in the stadium complex where the World Cup and all the international matches are played is very inspiring for those in the HPC residential program. You can see it their eyes and it reflects in their body language," he said.

Indian Senior Women Finish Winless In Argentina Tour

India vs. Argentina on 28 January 2021, photograph courtesy Confederacion Argentina de Hockey

he world no. 9 Indian women's team, who last played international hockey in January 2020, started off Olympic year 2021 with a tour of world no. 2 Argentina.

The entire Indian contingent underwent a COVID-19 RT-PCR test 72 hours prior to their departure from New Delhi on January 3. Hockey India and the host association planned a secure bio-bubble in Buenos Aires to house the Argentine and the Indian women's team during the series. All matches were held at the National Center of High Performance Athletics (CeNARD) in Buenos Aires.

In the leadup to the matches against the senior team, the Indian team played two games against the Argentina junior women's teams (Leoncitas). Both the matches were tied: 2-2 draw on January 17, and 1-1 draw on January 19.

India then played two matches against Argentina Women's B team. India lost both these matches: 1-2 loss on January 22 and 2-3 loss on January 24.

India lost the series with the Argentine senior women's team 0-2, with one match drawn (see results below). The matches were live-streamed on ArgFieldHockey - the official YouTube channel of the Argentina hockey team.

Date Result Goal Scorers - India
Jan 26 Argentina 3 - India 2 Sharmila Devi (34 min)
Gurjeet Kaur (40 min), PC
Jan 28 Argentina 2 - India 0  
Jan 30 N/A Match called off due to bad weather
Jan 31 India 1 - Argentina 1 Rani Rampal (35 min)

The 25-member Indian women's hockey squad was as follows: Rani Rampal (captain), Savita Punia (vice-captain), Rajani Etimarpu, Bichu Devi Kharibam, Gurjeet Kaur, Deep Grace Ekka, Rashmita Minz, Manpreet Kaur, Reena Khokhar, Salima Tete, Nisha, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Leelima Minz, Neha Goyal, Namita Toppo, Monika, Nikki Pradhan, Vandana Katariya, Navneet Kaur, Navjot Kaur, Jyoti, Udita, Rajvinder Kaur, Lalremsiami, Sharmila Devi.

Indian Junior Women Finish Undefeated In Chile Tour

Striker Beauty Dungdung of Jharkhand scored as hat-trick in India vs. Chile Juniors match on 17 January, 2021

he Indian junior women's team, who last played international hockey in December 2019, started off 2021 with a tour of Chile.

The entire Indian contingent underwent a COVID-19 RT-PCR test test 72 hours prior to their departure, and were also tested on arrival in Chile. Hockey India and the Chilean Field Hockey Federation planned a secure bio-bubble in Santiago for all the personnel involved in the tour. Indian team members had to stay exclusively within their hotel, with exits from the hotel only allowed on training days and match days. All matches were played at the Prince of Wales Country Club in Santiago.

India played 2 matches against Chile Jr. Women and 4 matches against Chile Sr. Women and emerged undefeated by winning 5 and drawing 1. India's match results were as follows:

Opponent Date Result Goal Scorers - India
Chile Jr. Women Jan 17 India 5 - Chile 3 Lalrindiki (14 min)
Beauty Dungdung (29, 38, 52 min)
Sangeeta Kumari (30 min)
  Jan 18 India 4 - Chile 2 Gagandeep Kaur (51, 59 min), both PCs
Mumtaz Khan (21 min)
Sangeeta Kumari (53 min)
Chile Sr. Women Jan 20 India 3 - Chile 2 Deepika (39 min), PC
Sangeeta Kumari (45 min), PC
Lalrindiki (47 min)
  Jan 21 India 2 - Chile 2 Deepika (40 min)
Gagandeep Kaur (55 min), PS
  Jan 23 India 2 - Chile 0 Sangeeta Kumari (48 min)
Sushma Kumari (56 min), PC
  Jan 24 India 2 - Chile 1 Beauty Dungdung (6 min, 26m-PC)

The victorious junior squad returned to India on 27 January. Skipper Suman Devi Thoudam, who plays a defender on the team, was happy with the tour results. She said, "We showed good fitness in our matches against Chile, playing six matches in eight days, and winning five of them. Now, it is about recovering and spending a few days with our families, following all the guidelines, and then getting back to the national camp to prepare for this important year."

The Junior Women's World Cup is scheduled to be held in South Africa in December of this year.

The 25-member Indian junior women's team was as follows: Suman Devi Thoudam (captain), Ishika Chaudhary (vice-captain), Khushboo, Rashanpreet Kaur, Mahima Choudhary, Priyanka, Gagandeep Kaur, Sushma Kumari, Akshata Dhekale, Baljeet Kaur, Chetna, Mariana Kujur, Ajmina Kujur, Reet, Prabhleen Kaur, Vaishnavi Phalke, Preeti, Jeevan Kishori Toppo, Mumtaz Khan, Rutuja Pisal, Sangeeta Kumari, Beauty Dungdung, Lalrindiki, Deepika.

Photograph of the Month

Photograph credit Martin Sigal, courtesy Adidas

he Photograph of the Month for February 2021 is of an Adidas photo shoot of the Argentine women's hockey team (Las Leonas - The Lionesses).

The women's team of Argentina were debuting their new Adidas uniform in a print campaign shot by award-winning photographer Martin Sigal for TBWA/Buenos Aires.

In the past 20 years (2000-2020), Las Leonas have won two World Cups (2002, 2010), a record seven Champions Trophy golds (2001, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2014, 2016) and two Olympic silver medals (2000, 2012).

Money Matters

Article by Y. B. Sarangi, Photograph by K. R. Deepak, credit Sportstar

n international astro-turf stadium for hockey to be built inside the Salt Lake Stadium Complex was announced by West Bengal Sports Minister Aroop Biswas on 22 January.

The stadium, to be built over an area of approximately three acres at an estimated cost of ₹20.53 crore, will have grass hills and will accommodate 6,500 spectators. It will have two team dressing rooms. The colour combination of the astro-turf will be blue and yellow. The field of play will be 110 m x 75 m. The hockey infrastructure will be situated on the northern side of the Salt Lake Stadium, near Gate No. 1.

Aroop said, "Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Hockey Bengal and Olympian Gurbux Singh always wanted an astro-turf hockey stadium here. This is a gift from the Chief Minister to Hockey Bengal and Gurbux Singh in the new year."

Gurbux said, "Happy to know that an astro-turf stadium is coming up here. Hope Bengal hockey will benefit from this."

Media Matters

Film stars vs. Hockey Stars at Wankhede Stadium in 1975, organised by Raj Kapoor
Article by K. Arumugam of Stick2Hockey.com. Photograph credit Ashok Vahie

used to see him on the sidelines of hockey pitches, when I moved to Delhi in the early 1990s. Most Delhiites must have seen around the stadium, in the stands and other places since the 1970s. Probably no hockey event took place without his presence in Delhi - there was no escaping his roving but affectionate cameras.

I am talking about the Raghu Rai of hockey, Ashok Vahie, whose passion for the sport went beyond his profession. That was why his small office, located within a kilometre of the iconic Shivaji Stadium in central Delhi, turned out to be every hockey player's must-visit destination.

"I am happy many players found something in me and in my interactions, and developed a personal touch with me," says Vahie, who is full of zest for life. Many players have become akin to family to Ashok Vahie, like Sukhbir Singh Grewal and Arvind Chhabra, to name a couple. B. P. Govinda, icon and star forward of yesteryear, was adamant that only Vahiesaab click his wedding photos, and took him to Bengaluru for his big day!

"The biggest joy in my life is how players like me, love me and respect me. I don't need anything beyond this," he once declared.

His lenses captured anything and everything hockey in the capital for almost five decades. Be it Nehru Cup or Lal Bahadur Shastri competitions, international tournaments, Rashtrapati Bhavan award functions and other events, Vahie and his beloved camera were sure to be seen there.

No chronicle on Indian hockey for the last 50 years could do without the images he had shot. His photographs speak the history of Indian hockey over the past half century. His two photograph exhibitions - one in Delhi and one in Chandigarh - drew wide publicity and acclaim.

The list of immortal moments he clicked are too long to mention here - Dhyan Chand images, a photograph of all the Balbir Singhs together in one frame, the 1982 Asian Games images, Shivaji Stadium events from its original days, among countless others.

In 1975, he travelled to Bombay, now Mumbai, to shoot the World Cup winning team vs Cine Stars match staged at the Wankhede stadium before a sell-out crowd. The photograph above shows the World Cup team with film stars such as Randhir Kapoor, Rekha, Rishi Kapoor, Jetendra, Vinod Khanna and Prem Chopra, among others.

As a true press photographer, Vahiesaab, as he is known to many, clicked other sports and political events, each with their own stories to tell. His Vahie News Photo is much sought after for all these rare images.

At the end of 2020, Vahie announced his retirement in a social media post. He has closed down his Bhagat Singh Studio, which did much to foster hockey and is in many ways a legacy for the game and its fraternity.

With the dawn of the new year, he seeks a quiet life. His images, though, are not time-bound. They will live forever. Thank you Vahiesaab, for what you have contributed to hockey.

Fun With Numbers

Statistics by B. G. Joshi

he Indian men's team made its debut in international hockey in 1926. As of 31 January, 2021, India has played 1730 matches, winning 957 of them. The February 2021 edition of Fun with Numbers are 11 memorable matches of India.

  • 10 of the 11 memorable matches happened at venues outside India
  • In the 1936 Olympics, Dhyan Chand scored a hat-trick in both the semi-finals and final
  • In the 1952 Olympics, Balbir Singh Sr. scored a hat-trick in both the semi-finals and final
  • In the 1966 Asian Games hockey final, Balbir Singh (Railways) was injured by the stick of a Pakistani defender early in the game and had to leave the field. India played with 10 players to finish regulation at 0-0
  • In the last few minutes of extra-time remaining, an injured Balbir re-entered the ground, trapped a long through-pass, entered deep inside the D, and at near-zero degrees angle, scored the gold medal goal
  • In the 1985 Champions Trophy league match, Pargat Singh started from the full-back position and went the length of the field solo to dodge past the German defence and score a magnificent field goal
Date Venue Tournament Opponent Result Highlight
15 Aug, 1936 Berlin Olympic Hockey Final Germany India 8 - Germany 1 Record for the highest victory margin in an Olympic hockey final
12 Aug, 1948 London Olympic Hockey Final Great Britain India 4 - Great Britain 0 Independent India's first Olympic gold medal
24 Jul, 1952 Helsinki Olympic Hockey Final Netherlands India 6 - Netherlands 1 Record for most goals by a player in an Olympic hockey final
6 Dec, 1956 Melbourne Olympic Hockey Final Pakistan India 1 - Pakistan 0 First ever match between India and Pakistan
23 Oct, 1964 Tokyo Olympic Hockey Final Pakistan India 1 - Pakistan 0 Goalkeeper wins Man of the Match for the final (Shankar Lakshman)
19 Dec, 1966 Bangkok Asian Games Hockey Final Pakistan India 1 - Pakistan 0 India's first Asiad hockey gold, Balbir Singh (Rlys) scores extra-time winner
15 Mar, 1975 Kuala Lumpur World Cup Final Pakistan India 2 - Pakistan 1 India's only Hockey World Cup title
29 Jul, 1980 Moscow Olympic Hockey Final Spain India 4 - Spain 3 India's last Olympic hockey gold medal, 4 decades ago!
19 Nov, 1985 Perth Champions Trophy League Germany India 5 - Germany 5 India score 4 unanswered goals in last 8 minutes to tie the match
22 Aug, 2003 Amsterdam Champions Trophy League Pakistan India 7 - Pakistan 4 India score 5 unanswered goals in a 15-minute span to win the match
6 Dec, 2015 Raipur Hockey World League Bronze Netherlands India 5 - Netherlands 5 (3-2) India's first medal in an elite world-level tournanment after over 3 decades