In Club vs. Country, Club Prevails (Men's Hockey Pro League)

Manpreet Singh scores against England in the Hockey Pro League, photograph courtesy Hockey India

he Indian men's team played a doubleheader with England (April 2-3) and with Germany (April 14-15) at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubanesvar. These fixtures were India's last home games in the Hockey Pro League before they hit the road for away games.

India's matches against Germany clashed against the Men's Euro Hockey League finals that were taking place from April 13-18 at Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen, Netherlands. German first team players who were part of Rot-Weiss Köln, Uhlenhorst Mülheim and Mannheimer HC declined to make the trip to India.

As a result, the Honamas came to India without the following stars:

  • Rot-Weiss Köln: German captain Mats Grambusch, his drag-flicking younger brother Tom Grambusch, and the forward trio of Christopher Rühr, Thies Prinz and Timur Oruz
  • Uhlenhorst Mülheim: Fullback duo of Lukas Windfeder and Niklas Bosserhoff, midfielder Moritz Ludwig and forward Malte Hellwig
  • Mannheimer HC: Drag-flicker Gonzalo Peillat, defender Linus Müller and forward Justus Weigand

That's club vs. country in action, with club prevailing over country.

India won all its Pro League matches against England and Germany, with match results as shown below:

Country Date Result Goal Scorers - India
England Apr 2 India 3 - England 3 (3-2 SO) Abhishek (13 min)
Shamsher Singh (26 min)
Harmanpreet Singh (51 min), PC
  Apr 3 India 4 - England 3 Manpreet Singh (15 min), PC
Harmanpreet Singh (25, 26, 42 min), all PCs
Germany Apr 14 India 3 - Germany 0 Harmanpreet Singh (18, 27 min), both PCs
Abhishek (45 min), PC
  Apr 15 India 3 - Germany 1 Sukhjeet Singh (19 min)
Varun Kumar (41 min), PC
Abhishek (54 min)

During the course of his hat-trick against Englad, Harmanpreet Singh scored his 100th international goal - the fourth drag-flicker from India to achieve the feat, after Sandeep Singh, Vokkaliga Raghunath and Rupinder Pal Singh.

The Pro League matches were telecast live on Star Sports First and Disney+Hotstar. In addition, the two India-England Pro League matches were also shown live on BT Sport.

The 22-member Indian team for the Hockey Pro League matches against England was as follows:

Forwards: Sukhjeet Singh, Abhishek, Mandeep Singh, Shilanand Lakra, Gurjant Singh, Gursahibjeet Singh

Midfielders: Neelakantha Sharma, Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Shamsher Singh, Hardeek Singh, Sumit, Rajkumar Pal, Jaskaran Singh

Defenders: Amit Rohidas (captain), Harmanpreet Singh (vice-captain), Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Jugraj Singh, Neelam Sanjeep Xess

Goalkeepers: Parattu Raveendran Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak

Officials: Chief Coach - Graham Reid, Manager - Gregg Clark

The 22-member Indian team for the Hockey Pro League matches against Germany was as follows:

Forwards: Sukhjeet Singh, Abhishek, Mandeep Singh, Shilanand Lakra, Dilpreet Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Akashdeep Singh

Midfielders: Neelakantha Sharma, Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Shamsher Singh, Hardeek Singh, Sumit, Moirangthem Rabichandra Singh

Defenders: Amit Rohidas (captain), Harmanpreet Singh (vice-captain), Varun Kumar, Surender Kumar, Jugraj Singh, Jarmanpreet Singh, Gurinder Singh

Goalkeepers: Parattu Raveendran Sreejesh, Krishan Bahadur Pathak

Officials: Chief Coach - Graham Reid, Manager - Gregg Clark

In Club vs. Country, Club Prevails (Women's Hockey Pro League)

Neha Goyal scores against Netherlands in their Hockey Pro League match in Bhubanesvar, photograph courtesy AdImazes

he Indian women's team played a Hockey Pro League doubleheader against world no. 1 Netherlands at the Kalinga Hockey Stadium in Bhubanesvar on April 8 and 9. This was the first time the Dutch women's team was playing an international match against India on Indian soil.

Around the same time, the Women's Euro Hockey League finals were taking place from April 15-18 at Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen, Netherlands. Dutch first team players who were part of Hertogenbosch (Den Bosch) and Amsterdamsche H&BC declined to make the trip to India.

As a result, the Orange Army came to India without four-time Olympic striker Lidewij Welten, three-time Olympian Margot Van Geffen, midfielder duo of Marloes Keetels and Laura Nunnink and forward Matla Frederique, among others.

Olympic gold medallist Netherlands came to India without any player who won gold in the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. As many as 8 players making their debut for the Dutch national team.

To indicate the enormous difference in experience - the Dutch team had a collective match experience of 99 matches total coming in to the doubleheader, which worked out to an average of 6 caps per player. In contrast, Indian women collectively played 1,678 international matches, with an average of 103 caps per player.

The most experienced player in the Dutch team - captain Yibbi Jansen - had only 24 caps. In contrast, the most experienced player in the Indian team - captain Savita Punia - had 223 caps.

Separately, India and England were to play Women's Hockey Pro League doubleheader on April 2-3 in Bhubanesvar. As a result of Covid testing results and injuries sustained whilst on club duty, several England players and staff were unable to travel. No dates could be found to reschedule the matches in India. It was decided between the FIH, India and England that the doubleheader will not be played, the 6 points available for these 2 matches will be awarded to India - the easiest six points obtained in league play.

That's club vs. country in action, with club prevailing over country.

India split the doubleheader against Netherlands, with the results as shown below.

Date Result Goal Scorers - India
Apr 8 India 2 - Netherlands 1 Neha Goyal (10 min), PC
Sonika Tandi (27 min), PC
Apr 9 Netherlands 1 - India 1 (3-1) Rajvinder Kaur (1 min), PC

India's 2-1 victory over the Netherlands was its first win in 10 attempts over a span of 48 years. Indian women last beat Netherlands 1-0 at the 1974 World Cup in Mandelieu, France. It was the first time since the Rio Olympics that the Dutch side conceded more than one goal.

The above matches were India's final home fixture in the Women's Hockey Pro League. India will play its remaining Pro League matches in Europe.

The matches were shown live on Star Sports 2 SD/HD and Disney+ Hotstar.

The 22-member Indian team for the Women's Hockey Pro League matches against Netherlands was as follows.

Forwards: Aishwarya Rajesh Chavan, Navneet Kaur, Rajvinder Kaur, Rani, Mariana Kujur

Midfielders: Nisha Warsi, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, Jyoti, Navjot Kaur, Monika Malik, Namita Toppa, Sonika Tandi, Neha Goyal, Mahima Choudhary

Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka (vice-captain), Gurjeet Kaur, Nikki Pradhan, Udita Duhan, Rashmita Minz, Suman Devi Thoudam

Goalkeepers: Savita Punia (captain), Rajani Etimarpu

Officials: Chief Coach - Janneke Schopman

Indian Women Finish Disappointing 4th In Junior Women's World Cup Hockey

Indian captain Salima Tete in the semi-final against England, photograph courtesy FIH

he 9th Junior Women's World Cup was played from April 1-12, 2022 at North West University in Potchefstroom, South Africa. The tournament was originally to be held in December 2021, but got postponed due to the omicron-threat in South Africa.

15 teams participated in the tournament, and were grouped into 4 pools as follows.

  • Pool A: Netherlands, Canada, United States, Canada
  • Pool B: England, Ireland, South Africa, *Russia (banned)
  • Pool C: Argentina, South Korea, Austria, Uruguay
  • Pool D: Germany, India, Malaysia, Wales

This World Cup was notable for the number of countries that could not make it for the tournament

  • Covid travel restrictions - Australia, Belgium, New Zealand, Spain
  • Banned by FIH for invasion of Ukraine - Russia
  • Unable to make it to the tournament due to ongoing war - Ukraine

India finished 4th in the Junior Women's World Cup, with the results as shown below.

Stage Date Result Goal Scorers - India
Pool Apr 2 India 5 - Wales 1 Lalremsiami (4 min)
Lalrindiki (32 min, 57 min-PC)
Mumtaz Khan (41 min)
Deepika Jr. (58 min), PC
  Apr 3 India 2 - Germany 1 Lalremsiami (2 min), PC
Mumtaz Khan (25 min), PC
  Apr 5 India 4 - Malaysia 0 Mumtaz Khan (10, 26, 59 min)
Sangeeta Kumari (11 min)
Quarter-finals Apr 8 India 3 - South Korea 0 Mumtaz Khan (11 min)
Lalrindiki (15 min)
Sangeeta Kumari (41 min)
Semi-finals Apr 10 Netherlands 3 - India 0  
Bronze Medal Apr 12 England 2 - India 2 (3-0 SO) Mumtaz Khan (20, 46 min)

In the bronze medal match, England scored with only 90 seconds of regulation time left to level the match at 2-2, and take the game to a shootout which they won 3-0. Salima Tete, Sharmila Devi and Sangeeta Kumari all missed their shots for India in the penalty shootout, while Axford Maddie, Swain Claudia and Curtis Katie converted for England.

Netherlands became Junior Women's World Cup champions for a record fourth time in the tournament's history. The absolutely dominant Oranje scored 49 goals in the tournament, and conceded only one goal - in the final against Germany.

Dutch women currently hold all major titles in women's hockey - Olympic, Senior World Cup, Junior World Cup, FIH Pro League and the European championship.

The final standings were: 1 - Netherlands, 2 - Germany, 3 - England, 4 - India, 5 - Argentina, 6 - South Korea, 7 - South Africa, 8 - USA, 9 - Ireland, 10 - Austria, 11 - Malaysia, 12 - Zimbabwe, 13 - Uruguay, 14 - Wales, 15 - Canada

The individual tournament awards were as follows:

  • Player of the Tournament - Stine Kurz (Germany)
  • Top Scorer of the Tournament - Jip Dicke (Netherlands)
  • Goalkeeper of the Tournament - Mali Wichmann (Germany)

The Indian team for the tournament included 3 Tokyo Olympians - Lalremsiami, Salima Tete and Sharmila Devi. The Indian team included 3 players from Mizoram, all of whom trained at the SAI Hockey Centre, Thenzawl - Lalremsiami, Lalrindiki and Marina Lalramnghaki.

The 20-member Indian team for the Junior Women's World Cup was as follows:

Forwards: Beauty Dungdung, Deepika Jr., Jeevan Kishori Toppo, Lalrindiki, Mumtaz Khan, Sangeeta Kumari

Midfielders: Ajmina Kujur, Baljeet Kaur, Lalremsiami, Reet, Salima Tete (captain), Sharmila Devi, Vaishnavi Phalke

Defenders: Akshata Abaso Dhekale, Ishika Chaudhary (vice-captain), Marina Lalramnghaki, Preeti, Priyanka

Goalkeepers: Bichu Devi Khairbam, Khushboo

Officials: Chief Coach - Erik Wonink, Analytical Coach - Patrick Tshutshani, Assistant Coach - Harvinder Singh

Hariyana Win 12th Senior Men's National Hockey Championship

The victorious men's hockey national champions Hariyana, photograph courtesy Hockey India

he 12th Hockey India Senior Men's National Hockey Championship was held at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in Bhopal from April 6-17, 2022.

26 teams from all over the country participated in the tournament, and were grouped into 8 pools as follows:

  • Pool A: Punjab, Rajasthan, Delhi
  • Pool B: Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Chattisgadh
  • Pool C: Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand
  • Pool D: Maharashtra, Bihar, Kerala
  • Pool E: Chandigadh, Jharkhand, Jamma & Kashmir, Dadra, Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu
  • Pool F: Bengal, Puducherry, Gujarat, Arunachal Pradesh
  • Pool G: Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Manipur* (did not participate)
  • Pool H: Hariyana, Odisha, Assam, Goa

Hariyana won the 2022 Senior Men's National Hockey Championship, with the following match results:

Stage Date Hariyana Date Tamil Nadu
Pool Apr 7 beat Assam 21-1 Apr 7 beat Madhya Pradesh 4-0
  Apr 9 drew with Odisha 4-4 Apr 10 walkover Manipur 5-0
  Apr 13 beat Goa 20-0 Apr 13 beat Himachal Pradesh 5-0
Quarters Apr 14 beat Delhi 3-0 Apr 14 beat Uttar Pradesh 3-1
Semis Apr 16 beat Maharashtra 5-2 Apr 16 beat Karnataka 3-0
Final Apr 17 drew with Tamil Nadu 1-1 (3-1 penalty shootout)

This was the second men's national championship for Hariyana, having last won in 2011. The 2011 nationals was also held in Bhopal.

For the runners-up Tamil Nadu, this was the first final appearance in the Senior Men's Nationals in 22 years - they had last entered the final in the 1999 Hyderabad Senior Nationals, where they lost to Indian Airlines in the final.

Railways swept 4 of the tournament awards:

  • Player of the Tournament: Arjun Sharma (Railways)
  • Player of the Final: Joginder Singh (Railways)
  • Defender of the Tournament: Jasjit Singh Kullar (Railways)
  • Mid\fielder of the Tournament: Syed Niyaz Rahim (Railways)

In the 3rd vs. 4th placings match, Karnataka beat Maharashtra 4-3 to finish 3rd. Karnataka had also finished 3rd in last year's 2021 Senior Men's Nationals that were held in Pimpri-Chinchvad.

Photograph of the Month

Article by Manju Veerappa of The Times of India. Graphic courtesy Athletes Today

he Photograph of the Month for May 2022 is of former Indian women's hockey team captain, Elvera Britto, who passed away on 26th April, 2022 at the 81. She was admitted to a hospital in Bengaluru for a week, and died after suffering a stroke.

Elvera became only the second women's hockey player, after Ann Lumsden, to be conferred with the Arjuna Award. She represented India against Australia, Ceylon (later renamed as Sri Lanka) and Japan.

In the late 1950s, when Karnataka was still Mysore and the only driving force to play sport was passion, a sight to behold was girls on rickety bicycles with hockey sticks slung on their backs making a beeline to the Sullivan Police grounds in Bengaluru.

Among the girls were the Britto sisters - Priscilla, Elvera, Rita and Mae - often referred to as the first family of Karnataka hockey. Barring Priscilla, the other three wore the India colours with distinction, but the most celebrated among them was Elvera.

Born on June 15, 1940, Elvera grew up in the leafy bylanes of Lloyd Road in Cooke Town, Bengaluru. A student of St Francis Xavier's Girls School in Bengaluru, Elvera turned to hockey at the age of 13 after realising that her prospects in athletics - her first love - were bleak.

A left-half with abundant talent and admirable finesse, Elvera broke into the big league along with her sisters when they represented the erstwhile Mysore state at a national-level school tournament in 1960, which the state won on debut. There was no looking back for Elvera, the Britto sisters or the Mysore state hockey team, which won the national crown a record eight times on the trot (1960 - 1967), triggering tremendous interest among the fans.

Elvera, along with her sisters Rita and Mae, all played their senior international debut in 1960 in a home test series against Sri Lanka. India won the 5-test series 4-1. Elvera was part of the Indian women hockey team's tour of Sri Lanka in 1962, where they handily won the 7-test series.

Elvera played the home Test series against Japan in 1964 which India won 5-3.

Although she led the national team, her international career ended prematurely. Her last appearance for India was in 1967 when she played a home test series against the the visiting Australian team, who had stopped by India en route to an international engagement. She won the 1965 Arjuna Award for hockey.

On her retirement, Elvera had said, "I would have loved to play on, I still had a lot of hockey left in me. But when you are given a message that you are not needed anymore, you know it is time to walk away with your head held high."

She returned to the sport as an administrator and served as president of the then Karnataka State Women's Hockey Association, and was at the helm for eight years. Incidentally, her mother - Letitia Britto - was one of the founder members of the association.

Known for her vocal personality, she turned things around for women's hockey in the state, making inter-school competition her prime focus to revive hockey culture. She also served as the Government nominee in the National Selection Committee for over a decade. She managed the Indian women's hockey team for competitions in Kazakhstan and Beijing.

After stepping down from office, she kept a keen eye on the progress of women's hockey in the country. After all, that was where her heart lay.

Money Matters

Sharmila Devi, Ishika Chaudhary, Baljeet Kaur, Bichu Devi Kharibam, Deepika, Akshata Abaso Dhebale (present virtually)
Suman Devi Thoudam, Rajvinder Kaur, Rashmita Minz were present in person at the Indian Oil announcement ceremony

he May edition of Money Matters is on the role played by the oil companies in India in providing employment to Indian men and women hockey players.

Men's Hockey

Company Employee
Bharat Petroleum Birendra Lakra
  Harmanpreet Singh
  Lalit Kumar Upadhyay
  S. V. Sunil
  Varun Kumar
Indian Oil Corporation Dilpreet Singh
  Hardik Singh
  Krishan Bahadur Pathak
  Simranjeet Singh
ONGC Gurjant Singh
  Mandeep Singh
  Sumit Kumar

On the occasion of International Women's Day 2022, the country's largest energy company, Indian Oil Corporation, inducted 9 players of the Indian women's hockey team onto its rolls. This is the first time a corporate in India has offered employment to women hockey players.

Women's Hockey

Company Employee
Indian Oil Corporation Akshata Abaso Dhekale
  Baljeet Kaur
  Bichu Devi Kharibam
  Ishika Chaudhary
  Rajvinder Kaur
  Rashmita Minz
  Sharmila Devi
  Suman Devi Thoudam

These nine women hockey players come from the states of Hariyana, Punjab, Manipur, Odisha and Maharashtra. They were handed over their appointment letters by Indian Oil Chairman, Mr. S. M. Vaidya.

Mr. Vaidya said on the occasion, "We released our revised sports policy in 2021, which included the provision for recruiting women hockey players for the first time. I am glad that within a few months of the policy's rollout, we are witnessing the conversion of intent into action."

The video announcement of Indian Oil's sponsorship is available here:

Media Matters

R. S. Gentle, Grahanandan Singh and Keshav Dutt (left to right) at the 1948 London Olympics. Photo courtesy The Bridge

hen Lahore-based Shahzada Syed Shahrukh, a member of undivided India's hockey team, and then vice-captain of the Pakistan national team, saw a photo of his old teammate Keshav Dutt living in his late 80s in Kolkata a few years ago, he broke down in tears.

This is one of the poignant scenes of 'Taangh', a new documentary made by the daughter of one of India's 1948 Olympic gold medal winning team members. Made by Bani Singh, the 59-year-old daughter of Nandy Singh, this film which premiered in December 2021, is a priceless tale of a cross-border friendship between two hockey players hewn by the axe of Partition.

'Taangh' (longing in Punjabi) traces a former Pakistani teammate who saved many Hindu and Sikh lives - including that of Keshav Dutt, one of the most stylish players of the 1948 and 1952 gold medal winning teams.

"Keshav used to play for my Punjab team. There were many others like him," Shahrukh breaks down in the documentary. "I used to love Keshav a lot. Keshav also loved me a lot. Who knows what went where. Partition ruined a lot of families," says Shahrukh.

A verse of the poet Ustad Daman is quoted in the documentary, lamenting the tragedy of partition.

The redness of your eyes is revealing
You have cried, as have we
The ones who looted, looted to their heart's content
At the hands of this 'freedom'
You have been ruined, as have we

In the seven years that it took the filmmaker to bring it out, the four principal characters in the film - Nandy Singh, Shahrukh, Keshav Dutt and Balbir Singh - passed away. Their gift lives on in this film.

Taangh was a Centerpiece film at the New York Indian Film Festival 2022, and available online from 6th May. The trailer of the documentary can be seen here -

Records and Statistics

The victorious 2022 Junior Women's World Cup Netherlands team, photograph courtesy FIH

his month's edition of records and statistics is on the Junior Women's World Cup Hockey, the 9th edition of which was held in Potchefstroom, South Africa, April 1-12, 2022.

  • Netherlands has the best record in the Junior Women's World Cup, with 4 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze
  • South Korea is the only country from Asia to have won the tournament
  • Countries from Africa and North America have not won a single medal in the tournament
  • All continents have hosted the Junior Women's World Cup except for Oceania (Australia, New Zealand et al)
  • Santiago, Chile is the only two-time host of the tournament. The city is also hosting the 2023 edition of the tournament
  • An Indian has won the Player of the Tournament only once - Rani Rampal in the 2013 edition
  • In 2013, India tied England in regulation time and prevailed in the shootout to win its only medal in the history of the tournament (bronze)
  • In 2022, England tied India in regulation time and prevailed in the shootout to win its only medal in the history of the tournament (bronze)
Year Venue Gold Silver Bronze India
1989 Ottawa, Canada West Germany South Korea Soviet Union Did not qualify
1993 Terrassa, Spain Argentina Australia Germany Did not qualify
1997 Seoul, South Korea Netherlands Australia Argentina Did not qualify
2001 Buenos Aires, Argentina South Korea Argentina Australia 9th
2005 Santiago, Chile South Korea Germany Netherlands 11th
2009 Boston, USA Netherlands Argentina South Korea 9th
2013 Moenchengladbach, Germany Netherlands Argentina India 3rd
2016 Santiago, Chile Argentina Netherlands Australia Did not qualify
2022 Potchefstroom, South Africa Netherlands Germany England 4th