New Zealand To Celebrate 1926 Indian Army Hockey Tour Centenary

Article by PTI. Image credit Money Control

ew Zealand is planning to mark the centenary of the 1926 Indian Army hockey tour of New Zealand. The tour marked the international debut of a young Dhyan Chand. The centenary will be observed as part of New Zealand's vision to celebrate the "breadth of the sporting relationship between the two countries."

Outgoing New Zealand's High Commissioner to India, David Pine, said that 2026 will be a "special year of our relationship". He was speaking during an interaction hosted by the think-tank Ananta Aspen Centre in Delhi on 12 April. He said an informal committee has shaped up to plan the Centenary events, and that things will starting falling into place with time.

"In 1926, the Indian Army hockey team came to New Zealand with the great Dhyan Chand. They stayed for three months," Pine said. "We will mark the Centenary by highlighting all of our sporting connections, including in cricket, weightlifting, judo, boxing and other sports."

New Zealand is also expecting the visit of an Indian prime minister in 2026. "It's been a long-standing invitation," Pine said.

The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) was formed in 1925, one year after the formation of the International Hockey Federation (FIH). The newly-formed IHF organised its first international tour in 1926 to New Zealand, where the Indian Army hockey team played 21 matches and won 18. The tournament saw the emergence of a young Dhyan Chand, who would go on to become arguably the best hockey player the world has ever seen.

According to the New Zealand Indian Sports Association website, the touring 1926 Indian Army hockey team is "significant in both Indian and New Zealand sporting history because it was the first overseas tour by an Indian hockey team".

"The star player of this team was Dhyan Chand, whose magical Indian dribble and goal-scoring captured the imagination of the public wherever he played. Dhyan Chand toured New Zealand again in 1935 as captain of the all-India team, and was a member of the victorious Indian teams at the 1928, 1932 and 1936 Olympic Games," it said.

India Whitewashed by Australia 0-5 In Lead Up To The Paris Olympics

he Perth International Festival of Hockey was held at Perth Hockey Stadium between April 6-28. It comprised a men's 5-test series between India vs. Australia (April 6-13), and a 3-nation women's tournament between Australia, China and Japan (April 20-28).

The importance of the Australian series was heightened by the fact that both India and Australia have been drawn in the same group in the Paris Olympics men's hockey tournament.

India had a forgettable series, losing all five matches against Australia, and conceding 17 goals while scoring only seven. India's match results are below.

Date Result Goal Scorers (India)
Apr 6 Australia 5 - India 1 Gurjant Singh (47 min)
Apr 7 Australia 4 - India 2 Jugraj Singh (9 min), PC
Harmanpreet Singh (30 min), PC
Apr 10 Australia 2 - India 1 Jugraj Singh (41 min), PC
Apr 12 Australia 3 - India 1 Harmanpreet Singh (12 min), PC
Apr 13 Australia 3 - India 2 Harmanpreet Singh (4 min), PC
Bobby Singh Dhami (53 min)

After the whitewash dished out by Australai, Indian men dropped to world no. 6 in the FIH Rankings.

All the matches of India's tour of Australia were broadcast on Sports18-3 and Sports18-1 HD, in addition to being live-streamed on Jio Cinema.

The Australian tour will be followed by a European tour, comprising 8 Hockey Pro League matches in May and June. These will be India's final set of matches before the Paris Olympics.

The 27-member Indian men's team for the Australian tour was as follows:

Forwards: Akashdeep Singh, Mandeep Singh, Lalit Kumar Upadhyay, Abhishek, Dilpreet Singh, Sukhjeet Singh, Gurjant Singh, Mohammed Raheel Mouseen, Boby Singh Dhami, Araijeet Singh Hundal

Midfielders: Hardeek Singh (vice-captain), Manpreet Singh, Vivek Sagar Prasad, Shamsher Singh, Neelakantha Sharma, Rajkumar Pal, Vishnukant Singh

Defenders: Harmanpreet Singh (captain), Jarmanpreet Singh, Amit Rohidas, Jugraj Singh, Sanjay, Sumit, Amir Ali

Goalkeepers: P. R. Sreejesh, Krishna Bahadur Pathak, Suraj Karkera

Officials: Chief Coach - Craig Fulton, Manager - Shivendra Singh, Assistant Coach - Rhett Halkett, Psychologist - Patrick Upton

Harendra Singh Returns As Coach Of The Indian Women's Hockey Team

oon after Janneke Schopman resigned as the head coach of the Indian women's hockey team, on the other side of the world, Harendra Singh resigned as the head coach of the US men's national team.

Putting two and two together, it came as no surprise that Harendra Singh emerged as the head coach of the Indian women's hockey team.

Sources in the Bharatiya Khel Praadhikaran (SAI) confirmed that Harendra was in the process of putting together a team of support staff, and that he was involved in pruning the 60-member assessment squad to a core group of 33 players.

An official announcement from Hockey India has been put on hold due to the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) in place for the Lok Sabha elections. This is because Dilip Tirkey, the president of Hockey India, is contesting the election as a Biju Janata Dal candidate from the Sundargarh constituency in Odisha.

In 2021, Harendra moved to USA to coach their men's national team. Prior to that assignment, Harendra has coached at various levels in the Indian hockey setup, as seen below.

Year Role Achievements Medal
2014 - 2017 Jr. Men's Coach 2016 Jr. Men's World Cup (Lucknow) Gold
2017 - 2018 Sr. Women's Coach 2017 Women's Asia Cup (Kakamigahara) Gold
2018 - 2019 Sr. Men's Coach 2018 Champions Trophy (Breda) Silver
    2018 Asian Games (Jakarta) Bronze
    2018 Asian Champions Trophy (Muscat) Gold

Harendra's first assignment will be a European tour, comprising Women's Hockey Pro League matches in May and June. The Indian women did not qualify for the Paris Olympics.

As a player, Singh debuted for India at the 1990 Asian Games in Beijing, where India won a silver medal. He played 43 matches for the country before retiring at just 26 years old citing "too much politics in Indian hockey."

Two Ex India Captains Dribble From The Hockey Field To Electoral Field

Article by Arabinda Mishra of Press Trust of India

hey have played captain's innings on the astroturf while representing the Indian hockey team, but this time they are trying their luck in the electoral battlefield in the Sundargarh district of Odisha.

They are Hockey India president and former Rajya Sabha MP Dilip Tirkey, and ex-Indian hockey team captain Prabodh Tirkey.

While Dilip is the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidate for the Sundargarh Lok Sabha constituency, Prabodh was the Congress candidate from the Talsara assembly constituency in Sundargarh district.

(In a subsequent development, Congress withdrew Prabodh from the election nomination. Shortly after, Prabodh joined the Bharatiya Janta Party).

Both candidates were picked for the electoral battle in Sundargarh as the district is known as the cradle of hockey in the state, and the game is very popular among the masses.

According to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, "Hockey is a way of life in tribal-dominated Sundargarh, where toddlers start walking with hockey sticks."

Dilip, 46, is pitted against former Union Minister and sitting BJP MP Jual Oram.

"It is good that Dilip is in the fray. He certainly is a master in the hockey field, but I am a seasoned player in politics," Oram, a five-time MP said.

Dilip, who retired from hockey in 2010 after playing over 400 international matches, is a former Rajya Sabha MP.

The contest is a rematch as Dilip and Oram had faced each other in Sundargarh in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, when the BJP candidate won the seat by a margin of 18,829 votes. After a gap of 10 years, Dilip and Oram will face each other again in the electoral field.

Dilip and Oram are both from the tribal community. Hailing from Saunamara in Sundargarh, Dilip was born to Regina Tirkey and ex-CRPF hockey player Vincent Tirkey in 1977. The 3-time Olympian captained India in the 2002 Asian Games and the 2004 Olympics Games, among other tournaments.

Talsara is one of the seven assembly segments under the Sundargarh Lok Sabha constituency from where Prabodh, 39, had been nominated.

Apart from being a former star international hockey player, Prabodh is also the younger brother of hockey icon Ignace Tirkey.

Sundargarh will go to polls in the fifth phase of the elections on May 20.

Photograph of the Month

Photograph courtesy Euro Hockey League

n Europe, club hockey is at the heart of the sport, with players spending 30 to 35 weeks of the year training and playing with their clubs. Euro Hockey League (EHL) was introduced for the 2007/08 season, and has evolved into the best men's club hockey competition in the world.

The EHL has been responsible for many rule innovations which were later adopted by the FHI. They include

  • Penalty shootout format featuring a timed face-off between the penalty taker and the goalkeeper
  • Video umpire referrals
  • Self-Pass, where in the event of a foul, a player can directly restart the game by dribbling with the ball

The photograph above shows the exuberance of an SV Kampong player after winning a classic EHL duel with long-time rival Rot-Weiss Köln in a match played on 31 March.

Kampong looked to be running away with the match when Silas Lageman's goal made it 4-1 in their favour. Mats Grambusch of Rot-Weiss levelled the game to make it 4-4.

Janssen gave Kampong a 5-4 lead from a corner, with four minutes left in the game. Thies Ole Prinz of Rot-Weiss sent the game to shoot-out when he scored the tying goal to make it 5-5.

In the shootout, Rott-Weiss went 2-1, after which Kampong goalkeeper Harte saved three goals in a row. Rik Sprengers and Telgenkamp both scored for Kampong to win the shootout 3-2.

The joyful leap of victory is this edition's Photograph of the Month.

Money Matters

n January 2024, goalkeeper Andrew Charter, who has won the World Cup (2014), Commonwealth Games gold (2014, 2018), Champions Trophy gold (2011, 2012) and Olympic silver (2021), posted the following on his LinkedIn profile.

Today is a sad day for my sport. For the first time in my 14 year career I was presented with my playing jersey lacking a major front of shirt sponsor.

That's right - the Kookaburras, one of Australia's most iconic sporting teams, are not able to find a major corporate sponsor 7 months out from the Paris Olympics.

While it may not be the Kookaburras of 2024 who feel this impact, it will in the future, and ultimately our sport as a whole if it stays this way.

If there are any corporations out there looking to support an Australian Team made up of engineers, accountants, electricians, physio's and more... I reckon it's good real estate!

The call for sponsorship support was duly answered. Hockey Australia announced a two-year contract with exclusive accommodation partner, Adina Hotels.

The Adina logo will be worn on the back of the Hockeyroos playing uniform, and on the front of the Kookaburras shirt for this year's Olympics and beyond.

Adina will also remain the official partner of Hockey Australia's suite of age-group national hockey championships.

Adina Hotels is part of the Australian International Hotel Group, TFE Hotels, and has apartment style hotels in Australia, New Zealand, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Hungary and Singapore.

Media Matters

Article by Sucheta Chakraborty. Article and image credit Mid-Day

t's only a 50-minute flight from Lahore to Delhi, but in terms of emotions, it was an immeasurable distance. It was as if I had gone behind enemy lines. But when I found the enemy, he turned out to be a friend!"

We hear Bani Singh narrate in her 2021 documentary Taangh (Longing), as she flies back from Lahore having met Shahzada Shahrukh, vice-captain of the 1948 Pakistan Olympic hockey team. Singh's father, Grahanandan 'Nandy' Singh, was a member of the Indian hockey team that won gold at the 1948 and 1952 Olympics.

The film centres on journeys into the past - both real and metaphorical - traversing a personal history to explore a larger story of Partition, hockey, and the Olympics.

"I have seen many films about the Partition where the older generation narrates horrific experiences. I did not fully connect because it was something that happened a long time ago, and was often so awful that you wanted distance from it, Bani tells us. "In this film, I wanted the daughter to engage with the past and have a conversation with the present. Something came out of that whole interaction that left you with a feeling of joy."

Bani als points to a bigger story than just about the Olympic gold medals. She says, "This is also a story about a daughter's relationship with her father, and trying to search for oneself within the identity of one's parents, which is a universal quest."

Bani has studied at the National Institute of Design, and has worked at the Virasat-e-Khalsa museum in Anandpur Sahib as a gallery visualiser and content interpreter.

Taangh was screened at the Coomaraswamy Hall of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya on 27 April. The 75-minute film was part of Parda Faash, a festival of films from South Asia organised by Asia Society India Centre in Mumbai.

The trailer of the documentary can be seen here -

Records and Statistics

Based on statistics by Tariq Ali, courtesy London 2012 photo credit Leo Mason - USA Today Sports

his month's edition of records and statistics is Olympic men's and women's hockey, going into the 2024 Paris Olympics hockey tournament, which will be held from 27 July to 9 August, 2024.

Men's Hockey

  • Most Olympic hockey tournaments (country): 21 - India, from 1928 - 2021
  • Most Olympic hockey tournaments (individual): 5 - Teun de Nooijer (NED) and Pol Amat (ESP), both from 1996 - 2012
  • Most Olympic hockey matches (country): 134 - India, from 1928 - 2021
  • Most Olympic hockey matches (individual): 35 - Teun de Nooijer (NED), from 1996 - 2012

Women's Hockey

  • Most Olympic hockey tournaments (country): 10 - Netherlands and Australia, both from 1984 - 2021
  • Most Olympic hockey tournaments (individual): 5 - Natascha Keller (GER), from 1996 - 2012
  • Most Olympic hockey matches (country): 59 - Netherlands, from 1984 - 2021
  • Most Olympic hockey matches (individual): 32 - Natascha Keller (GER), from 1996 - 2012

The countries with the most number of Olympic hockey medals won is shown below. Great Britain and Netherlands feature in the top 3 in both men's and women's hockey

Category Country Total Gold Silver Bronze
Men India 12 8 1 3
  Australia 10 1 4 5
  Great Britain 9 3 2 4
  Netherlands 9 2 4 3
Women Netherlands 9 4 2 3
  Argentina 5 0 3 2
  Great Britain 4 1 0 3