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Vintage Corner
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Vintage Corner-1 (4/13/2008)
--Arumugam
Let me introduce myself first in the context of a lifelong interest in Hockey.

I started playing hockey at the age of seven (Unao in U.P. 1927) and continued it for forty years. To play hockey barefoot on a pock-marked playground strewn with thorns and pebbles was an exciting childhood experience. One had to play with a danda plucked and cut from a tree and bent into shape.

By 1935 when I passed my High School, I had jettisoned my rudimentary football and cricket and focused on Hockey. In a year’s time I was elevated to captaincy of the College team. We won the U.P. Inter-School tournament (Lucknow) in 1937 and came back to a royal welcome and a triumphant procession through the streets of Moradabad. After waiting for a couple of years I joined the Aligarh Muslim University hockey team, was awarded the University hockey colour and was part of the team that won the Inter-Varsity Hockey (1942). We beat Punjab University in the final in a match that continued for three days. It was a star-studded team, led by the famous center-forward Shakur of Bhopal whose finesse in stick work was acknowledged by Dhyan Chand. Continued t play hockey for the better part of my career in the I.A.S.

Joined the Management of the Jawahar Lal Nehru Hockey Tournament Society at its inception in 1964, worked in sequence as Chairman of the Managing Committee and of the Tournament Committee that look respectively after the Junior and the Senior Hockey Tournaments. The Society runs five hockey tournaments every year, the sub-junior, junior, men’s Champion Colleges and women’s tournament. It is universally acknowledged as the premier body for promotion of hockey.

The series of tournaments that the Jawahar Lal Nehru Hockey Tournament Society runs year after year is recognised as the best organised in the country. More importantly, it is free from politics which has been the bane of Indian Hockey and which mainly is responsible for bringing down our standards. It held coaching camps every year for more than; three decades. It organised a seminar on umpiring. It organised a number of benefit matches to help hockey veterans in distress including the all-time great Dhyan Chand. The Society has decided this year to hold a Benefit Hockey Match for Joginder Singh. Hockey fans recognise him as Gindi. Now, Joginder Singh brought laurels to his country at the Rome (1960- silver) and Tokyo (1964 – gold) Olympics. Gindi unfortunately is on dialysis and in distress and deserves generous help from those interested in the game of hockey, which itself appears to be in distress in our country. The Society has issued an appeal for donations to be sent in the form of a cheque/ba nk draft drawn in favour of Jawahar Lal Nehru Hockey Tournament Society. The Benefit Match will be played on August 29, 2000 at National Stadium, New Delhi.

Let me conclude; we shall again meet in the last week of August, when India’s hockey performance in the Olympics over the years will be discussed, and in the last weeks of the subsequent months.

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