Beighton Cup will be held in December this year
Kolkata, Feb 21 (PTI) World's oldest hockey tournament Beighton Cup, which could not be organized last year, is slated to be held from December 20-30, a Bengal Hockey Association official said.
The 122nd edition of the tournament could not be held in 2017 -- first time since 1947 (when it was postponed due to riots) but the Hockey India has finally confirmed the dates for 2018.
"Beighton Cup is not dead. We have received a communication from the Hockey India and the dates have been confirmed from December 20-30. We are looking forward to host the tournament in a revamped way at our venue which will be ready by March-April," a senior BHA official told PTI.
Under most bizarre circumstances the centuy-old tournament which was once recognised as the Blue Riband of the Indian Hockey could not be held last year as BHA did not have a venue ready.
"It was for the first time since Indian Independence in 1947, when communal riots broke out, the Beighton Cup did not take place," former Olympian Gurbux Singh, also an ex-BHA secretary, told PTI.
"India have a packed a calendar in 2018 including the World Cup and the Asian Games. So all top players will be busy with national commitments. That may be the reason why it's slotted in December," Gurbux added.
But thankfully to save BHA the blushes, it completely went unnoticed as there was hardly any media interest for the sport in the country.
"There was no astro-turf ready, and it would have been a joke to organise the tournament on grass. So BHA had to defer the tournament in consultation with Hockey India."
However BHA's astro-turf venue is coming up inside the Salt Lake Stadium complex while the Sports Authority of India astro turf is also being done.
The Beighton Cup is named after its donor the late T D Beighton, legal remembrancer of the government of West Bengal.
Inaugurated in 1895, it is the oldest hockey tournament in the world and had the participation of the top hockey playing teams and greats of the country