Former Indian hockey player and head coach Romeo James nominated for Dhyan Chand Award
Former Indian goalkeeper and head coach Romeo James was nominated for the prestigious Dhyan Chand Award by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports for his outstanding contribution to the game of hockey as a player as well as a head coach.The award is India’s highest honour for lifetime achievements in sports and games.
James was India’s lead goalkeeper when the men’s team won the silver medal at the 1982 Asian Games in New Delhi. He was also the part of the team that finished 5th at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, and has represented the country on over 80 occasions.
Mushtaque Ahmad, Secretary General, Hockey India congratulated Romeo on his nomination for the renowned Dhyan Chand Award. “It has been a great journey working with Romeo James. He has tremendously contributed to Indian Hockey and has been exceptional on the field both as a player as well as a coach” he told Hockey India.
James also captained the Services team in the mid-1980’s and led them to glory in 1982 and 1985.
He was handed over the coaching reins to the Indian hockey in 1994 and successfully coached the team to a silver medal finish at the 1994 Asian Games in Hiroshima, Japan.
Following a hiatus, he was again handed the coaching job in 2010 and yet again, took the team to a silver medal finish at the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi.
Coached India’s hockey greats
He also managed to produce world-class goalkeepers under his reign; among them are Indian luminaries Bharat Chetri and Adrian D’ Souza, who protected the Indian goal for almost a decade.
Ahmad added, “ He (James) has successfully served Indian Hockey for more than four decades and has helped groom many star goalkeepers like Chetri and D’Souza during his tenure. He has been a great motivation for the young Indian talent and we congratulate him on this wonderful achievement.”
He also caught the eye of the media and hockey enthusiasts when he included only Chetri as a goalkeeper for the 2010 Commonwealth Games. He explained his decision to field only one goalkeeper, saying it would give the team an extra attacking option on the bench, as squads for Commonwealth Games include 16 players rather than the usual 18.
The Dhyan Chand Award was initiated in 2002. The award carries a cash prize of INR 500,000, a plaque and a scroll of honour.