Autobiography of Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand
Published by Sport & Pastime, Chennai, 1952
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Aga Khan Tournament
|The Aga Khan tournament takes an
unusually long time to conclude. This is because there is only ground at the
disposal of the tournament. All matches of the Aga Khan tournament are staged
on the grounds of Bombay Gymkhana, and they cannot possibly play more than
one match a day.
Another difficulty is that the dates of the Aga Khan and the Beighton Cup tournaments invariably clash.
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s I was giving finishing touches to this chapter, a friend in Kolkata wrote to say that throughout my memoirs I had totally failed to mention anything about the well-known Aga Khan hockey tournament of Mumbai. I am very sorry for this omission. I have already confessed that I had to depend almost entirely on my rambling memory and the statistical data furnished by a Kolkata friend.
We in our part of India have always felt that the Beighton Cup hockey tournament in Kolkata is India's foremost hockey tournament, and we concentrated more on this trophy than on any other tournament.
Of course we had heard a lot about the Aga Khan Cup. It is one of the best and most colourful tournaments in India, and attracts entries from all over the country. Somehow or the other, we could not make our way to this tournament. The reasons are as follows:
Firstly, the Aga Khan tournament takes an unusually long time to conclude. This is because, unlike Kolkata, there is only ground at the disposal of the tournament. All matches of the Aga Khan tournament are staged on the grounds of Bombay Gymkhana, Mumbai's premier club, and they cannot possibly play more than one match a day.
Another difficulty is that the dates of the Aga Khan and the Beighton Cup tournaments invariably clash, and therefore teams and players who are keen on the Beighton Cup find it difficult to take part in the Bombay event.
Anyway, my club, the Jhansi Heroes, felt that they must make a bid once for the Aga Khan Cup. In 1939 I consented to this proposal and we entered accordingly. We met the Crown Sports Club of Bangalore on April 10 and beat them handsomely by three clear goals.
In the next match, the famous Bhopal Wanderers, a state side to be more precise and having the status of a provincial team, eliminated us from the tournament by five clear goals.
Whilst on the Aga Khan event, may I make a few suggestions to the authorities of this fixture? If they want to draw entries from all over India, they should concentrate only on top-notch teams, and make it unnecessary for a player to be away from his work for more than ten days. The authorities should bear in mind the cardinal fact that hockey players are all amateurs, and cannot get away from their usual avocations for a long time.
It is here that the Beighton Cup organisers take the cake. Unlike Mumbai, Kolkata has at least a dozen hockey greens, of which four are top-class whereby eight or ten matches can be played in a day.
Captain Dhyan Chand