Posts filed under ‘Hockey’
New Delhi: It is a blazing hot afternoon, a group of 4-5 boys are sitting under the shade of a mango tree with hockey sticks in their hands. The kids are from a village a few kilometres off Sundergarh town, a place where no one speaks or talks about cricket, it is hockey all the way. Ask anyone about their favourites sportsperson and it is hockey player, most prefer and idolise Dileep Tirkey, cricket does not even feature in the list. Most of the local tournaments held here are not fancy affairs, at times the prize is a goat.
Sundergarh belongs to impoverished region of the Chotha Nagpur Plateau, a place which has great mineral wealth, yet has seen little or no development. The region is famous for producing world class hockey players and being good is at the time the only hope for a secured future. It is not a cakewalk for most of them, the dream involves endlessly hours of honing their skills with makeshift bamboo sticks, poles serve as goalposts.
Drenched in sweat and a bruised leg to show off, 10-year-old Amit Tirkey, dribbles with a piece of stick bent at one end. He is too poor to afford a proper hockey stick. Mention the name of any of the famous hockey players from this region and his eyes light up. He adds, “I share the same surname as Dileep Tirkey and I want to be a great player like him, but I want to be a midfielder or a forward and not a defender.” When asked why, he adds, “I like to score goals and not stop goals”. Pat comes a tap on his head from his friend, who dares him to score a goal and off they go to play on the dusty and stony surface, the joy clearly evident for all to see.
The question that everyone wants to know is how and why did the game become so famous in this part of the country? Some believe that the Christian missionaries were the main reason for spreading the game. Sampad Mahapatra, a journalist who has covered the region for decades, points out that most of the players who have played for the country belong to the Oram tribe. Most of the Orams are Christians. Mr Mahapatra adds, along with hockey a host of other games were also introduced, but it is hockey which became a rage.
What also works in their favour is their never ending stamina and strong legs.
For those who graduate to the next level, there is a SAI academy in Panposh, near Rourkela. The academy which is meant to provide a platform to raw talent, does not really live up to it mark. The amenities are very few and those available do not live up to the standards. The state hockey association is based in Cuttack and officials only make infrequent trips to the region, much to the disgust of the locals in the region. The locals believe that people will continue to play the game, but what they question is for how long in the midst of very little support from the state administration. If the apathy continues, the game will die a slow and painful death.
New Delhi: Olympian and experienced Indian defender Dilip Tirkey today announced his retirement from the international hockey.
“I took the decision to retire from international hockey because I have been suffering from fitness related problems for quite a long time. My legs are not fit and I don’t think it is possible for me to return to the national squad in near future,” Tirkey told PTI Bhasha.
Tirkey, who made his international debut in 1995 against England in the Indira Gandhi Gold Cup, did not play the recent World Cup held here earlier this year.
The three-time Olympian and former India captain, Tirkey also said he was not satisfied with his international career.
“I could not fulfil my dream of clinching the World Cup title and Olympic medals. I did not get the chance to play in World Cup and would not be able to play in the Commonwealth Games at home. This grudge will remain throughout my life,” he said.
In the post-Dhyan Chand era, Sundargarh is synonymous with hockey and has continued to fetch sporting glory for India in the international sports arena. The tribal-dominated district of Odisha has proven its claim by producing around 50 junior and senior international players in both the men and women segments. Even, three to four players from here have already represented the national team at a time.
But, it is a pity that India, despite being the host of the World Cup, no one from the State was given a berth in the Indian team. However, the fans here do not fume as they are well-aware that, except Roshan Minz, all the State probables were down with injuries. Notwithstanding that, the miserable performance of the Indian hockey team in the World Cup 2010 has hurt the sports lovers though India could manage to obtain the eighth rank.
History reveals that hockey was introduced to Odisha by the Christian missionaries. Providentially, hockey that was started as a recreation, turned out to be a love affair for the tribal inhabitants who are noted to be gifted athletes here.
Passion for hockey was so deep that even shaky ground, bamboo sticks and cotton balls could not dissuade the tribals from producing extra-ordinary talents. Inter-village and intra-district tourneys brought talents to the fore and successful players and teams were encouraged by being rewarded kukuda (cock) and khasi (goat) as prizes.
Moreover, revamping started with the setting-up of hockey hostels and astro turfs by the Government in the mid-eighties. Trained youngsters proved their mettle in the national level tournaments. Among the talented players from the district are Dilip Tirkey, Lazarus Barla, Ignace Tirkey, Prabodh Tirkey, Peter Tirkey, William Xalxo, Roshan Minz, Amardeep Ekka, Birendra Ekka, Jyoti Sunita Kullu, Subhadra Pradhan, Anupa and Binita who have played in almost all major senior and junior global championships.
Dilip is now the highest-capped international player. He along with Ignace, Probodh and Kullu have led India and among the four, while three have been conferred with Arjuna Awards, two Padmashri.
Besides, creating a medium for expression of sporting dexterity, hockey has proved to be a dignified profession, providing employment to more than 1,000 young people across the country. Thanks to a century-old relationship with hockey, Odisha is now reckoned as a leading State in the game and is possessing decent infrastructure with three astro turfs (two in Rourkela including one of the SAIL and one in Sundargarh), three Government-run training centres (hostels at Rourkela, Sundargarh and Cuttack), one SAIL managed training centre at Rourkela and more than 500 trained players.
Able management is the need of the hour for further improvement of the game. Observers believe that Odisha Hockey Association should pilot in taking the game to more youngsters by organising more domestic tournaments. The efforts should be given to host both the national and international tournaments here as three well-equipped grounds are available in Sundargarh district.
Hockey aficionados also seek engagement of more coaches and trainers for proper guidance of youngsters and refresher courses for coaches to keep them well-run with the latest trends in the game.
But, what everyone urges to be done first is the completion of the State Hockey Academy at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar without further delay. Simultaneously, steps should be paced up for setting up a Sports University with speciality on Hockey in Sundargarh district. Otherwise, the Mecca of hockey may soon turn to be a barren place, sports observers here apprehend.
New Delhi, Jan 25 (IANS) Six sportspersons got Padma Shri in the Republic Day honours list announced by the government Monday.
The winners were Ignace Tirkey (hockey), Kumar Ram Narain Karthikeyan (motor sports), Ramakant Vithal Achrekar (cricket), Saina Nehwal (badminton), Vijender Singh (boxing) and Virender Sehwag (cricket).
Following is a report by PTI: Rourkela, Dec 23 (PTI)
Sambalpur University defeated Guru Nanak Dev University of Amritsar 1-0 to clinch the All India Inter-zonal Hockey (Men) Championships here today.
Amulya Minz scored the all-important goal for the hosts in the 39th minute of the match played at the Biju Patnaik Stadium.
Second half of the match saw keen contest but both the teams failed to convert a number of easy opportunities. Vice-Chancellor of Sambalpur University Arun Kumar Pujari handed over the prizes.
12.22.2009 (GMT+5.5) Rourkela: Sambalpur University of Orissa will clash against Guru Nanak Dev University of Amritsar in the final of All India Inter-Zonal Inter-University hockey (Mens) tournament being played here at Biju Patnaik Hockey Stadium tomorrow.
In two semi-final matches played today, Sambalpur University defeated Kashi Vidyapitha 3-1 while Gurunanak Dev University beat Kurukshetra University 2-0.
For Sambalpur University Amulya Minz netted the first goal in very 1st minute of the game. Imran Khan and Azam Beg added 2 more goals in 13th and 20th minutes respectively for their side. Kashi Vidyapith scored the lone goal by Udaya Pratap Singh at 34th minute leaving 3-1 at half time.
However, both teams failed to score any goal in 2nd half of the match despite good chances.
In the second semi-final match, Guru Nanak Dev University’s Gagan Deep Singh scored 1st goal at 43rd minute and Ranjosh Singh scored the 2nd goal at 58th minutes.
Kurukshetra failed to score any goal in the match despite their technical skill.
Dilip Tirkey is one of those rare gems that any country would be proud to have. Tirkey’s milestone of becoming the highest capped hockey player in the world during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia, last month went almost unnoticed. He equalled the world record of 401 internationals, held by former Dutch captain Joren Delmee.
One would have thought that Tirkey’s homecoming would be celebrated, some sports lover or association would come forward to host a party, order a cake and champagne. But such courtesies are reserved only for cricketers.
Instead, Tirkey quietly returned home with the triumphant Azlan Shah team, and again left for Malaysia this week for the Asia Cup that starts Saturday.
The unassuming player from Sundergarh, Orissa, who has given his everything to the sport, deserved better treatment.
Tirkey belongs to that hallowed circle of international sports heroes who are above such things like the honour of leading the team. Tirkey is to the Indian hockey team what Sachin Tendulkar is to the cricket team. Their very presence is a source of strength.
The tough full-back has come a long way since he had his international baptism as an 18-year-old. He has three Olympic Games (Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004), and as many World Cups, Asian Games and Asia Cups, and four Champions Trophy tournaments behind him.
If only India had qualified for last year’s Beijing Olympics, he would have been only the fourth Indian to have played in four Olympic Games, Udham Singh, Leslie Claudius and Dhanraj Pillai having done so before him. No Indian hockey player could have missed Beijing as badly as Tirkey.
Tirkey has a lot of hockey left in him. The day is not very far when he will touch the mindboggling figure of 500 international caps for India who have a busy season or two ahead what with the Asia Cup next month in Kuantan, Malaysia, and the World Cup and Commonwealth Games next year in New Delhi, with a European tour and other international engagements in between.
The 500 milestone would be like climbing the Everest. If Tirkey has talked of retirement after the 2010 Commonwealth Games one can understand. Only he knows how much more his body can take. Comparisons in the fast changing game of hockey are risky. Tirkey’s tackling reminds older students of the game of another stalwart tackler Michael Kindo of the 1970s. But Tirkey’s sturdier build makes him look more formidable.
One remembers with horror the day at the New Delhi’s Maj. Dhyan Chand Stadium a few years ago when, rushing out defending a penalty corner he took a drag flick by Pakistan’s Sohail Abbas, then the world’s best at it, smack on his face. Taking a 150 kmph or so hard hockey ball on an unprotected face can even be fatal. Like everyone else in the stadium that day, Sohail also had his worst fears. It could have been the end of anyhockey player’s career. But the intrepid Tirkey made an admirable comeback. No way you can keep tough men like Tirkey out.
Last month Sandeep Singh, the young captain and drag flick expert of the recent Azlan Shah Cup-winning Indian hockey team at Ipoh, Malaysia, was adjudged man of the tournament.
But every scorer is aware that no matter how many he may score or how many headlines he may find his name in, you can’t win tournaments without the support of doughty tacklers in the defence who prevent opponents from scoring against you. Sandeep has handsomely acknowledged the role of his senior and former captain Dilip “Bhai”, as he deferentially addresses the elder statesman of the team.
(08.05.2009-K. Datta is a veteran sports writer. He can be reached at email@example.com)