A look at the hockey Limca records over the years
The Limca Book of Records (LBR), the Indian counterpart of the Guinness Book of World Records, is a book which celebrates the extraordinary feats achieved by Indians. Introduced 25 years ago in 1990, it has been a platform for all hard-working Indians to showcase their brilliance, so that their efforts are noticed by everyone in the country.
Coca-Cola India recently launched the 26th edition of the book – on the first day of the Jaipur Literature Festival. The new edition consists of a total of 20 chapters covering a plethora of subjects ranging from sports to literature.
Here we focus on the records achieved in the field of Indian hockey.
Hockey – India’s chequered sport
Indian hockey has seen a lot of ups and downs. The game has touched heights of supreme greatness and also depths of unfathomable distance. Nevertheless, the country’s hockey players have registered some incredible records which can’t be reprised easily.
Take for instance, Indian hockey’s achievements in the international scene. India is a worthy winner of 17 major international hockey titles, eight Olympic gold medals, three Asian Games gold medals (1966, 1998 and 2014), two Asia Cup gold medals (2003 and 2007), the World Cup in 1975, the Champions Challenge in 2001, the Afro-Asian Games in 2003 and the Asian Champions Trophy in 2011.
Not only that, India has consistently entered the hockey finals (35 times, to be precise) of various world or continental level events. Out of the 35 finals, India has won 17 and lost 18. An Interesting fact to note about those lost finals is that 12 have come against arch-rivals Pakistan.
In addition to the success in the men’s senior category, India has also dominated the junior division with aplomb. India’s first junior Asia Cup win was way back in 2004 when the national team defeated Pakistan 5-2 and the prodigious Tushar Khandekar scored a memorable hat-trick.
Indian women have also fared exceptionally well in hockey and frequently made the country proud. The women had their first major glory in 2004 when they won the Asia Cup for the first time, beating China in the finals.
The LBR also consist the flip side of the records of Indian hockey. One of them is a documentation of India’s worst performance in the Olympics. India stood at a lowly 12th rank (the last position) in 2012 London Olympics, losing all their league matches as well as the final classification games for the 11th and 12th spot.
Other noteworthy achievements
The book also features some records of lesser known hockey heroes like Rajinder Singh. Singh is the only Indian top scorer in the World Cup with 12 goals to his name, just three short of the world record of 15 goals belonging to Paul Litjens of Netherlands.
Besides the team and players, there are interesting tidbits about the coaches too. For example, India inducted their first foreign coach in 2004 when Gerard Rach of Germany was appointed to supervise the team for the Athens Olympics. Since then, India has anointed various foreign coaches like Jose Manuel Brasa, Michael Nobbs and Terry Walsh.
Among the foreign coaches, Terry Walsh has been the most succcessful; under his guidance India recently won the Asian Games 2014 held in Incheon, South Korea.
Along with all these records, the LBR accounts many other notable achievements of Indian hockey. The book is a fine way to help the country’s citizens relive the past glory of Indian hockey, and also to inspire the youth to take up hockey.