Hockey: The game of the Nation

Indian Hockey

The game of ‘Hockey’ has been in existence for about 1200 years as one of the oldest known sports. It has been played in various ways in various places around the world throughout different times. However, the modern game of hockey, the Field Hockey, developed in the British Isles in the 19th century.

The game of hockey started in India when the first club came up in Kolkata, then Calcutta, in 1885-86. India made its Olympic debut in 1928 Amsterdam Games and won the Olympic gold. The dominance of Indian hockey continued from 1928 to 1956, in which period India won six straight Olympic gold medals and winning 24 consecutive matches. During this time, India scored 178 goals and conceded only 7 goals.

However, with the passage of time, the game didn’t get the due recognition it should have for bringing India on the world map. Due to the lack of proper infrastructure, planning, mismanaged administration and lack of funds, the present situation of hockey in India has deteriorated. With the increased interest in cricket and the influx of big sponsors for the same, the national game has taken a backseat. With the BCCI being one of richest sports bodies in the world, the game of cricket has taken precedence over hockey and can be unofficially said to be the national game now. On one hand, the cricketers get huge sums of money from the endorsements they do and also the contracts they sign with BCCI. However, the situation of the hockey players is not the same. They do not even get enough money from the Indian Hockey Federation to sustain their lives. Some of the players manage to get a decent job in some organization but that is not the case for everyone. The recent felicitation ceremony held for awarding the Indian hockey team which won the Asian Champions Trophy, is a black spot on the administrators of the game. The players of the team were felicitated with an amount of just Rs.25000 for their victory. This shows the attitude of the IHF itself towards the game and its players.

In the end, I would like to say that there should be an overhaul in the process in which the game of hockey is managed in the country and better plans should be chalked out for proper training and world-class facilities should be made available to the players so that the standard of the game in country is uplifted. The IHF should also try to make sure that they get proper sponsorship and have a better infrastructure so that the national game is not neglected. If steps are not taken up by the administrators of the game, the legacy which we have because of the game of hockey will be lost in the pages of history forever.

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