With the advent of time and its recent lackadaisical outings, hockey in India has lost its shine. However, it’s the game that took India onto the world stage. So here’s a few facts one should know about World Hockey and Indian Hockey.
Facts about World Hockey:
- Blackheath Rugby and Hockey Club is the first hockey club in the world. It was set up in the year 1861 in England.
- London was the first city in England to popularize this game in the 1870s.
- In the year 1886, Hockey Association of England was formed in London.
- The apex institution of hockey is ‘Federation Internationale de Hockey’, which was established on January 7, 1924, with headquarters at Vienna (Austria), which was later shifted to Paris (France). The first International Hockey Match was played between Wales and Ireland in Rayle on June 26, 1895.
- Hockey was introduced in the Olympic Games for the first time in 1908 in London.
Facts about Indian Hockey:
- Since 1944, National Hockey Championship is organized by the IHF every year.
- All India Women’s Hockey Federation was formed in 1947.
- India took part in Olympics for the first time in 1928 (in Amsterdam Olympics).
- In Olympics, India has won the hockey title a maximum of 8 times. The first Hockey World Cup was played in Barcelona in 1971.
- The Indian Hockey Federation was formed at Gwalior in 1925. India joined the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in 1928, becoming the first non-European member of the FIH.
- The first Indian sports teams to ever set foot in Australia/New Zealand (1926), Europe (1928) and Japan/USA (1932) were the Indian hockey teams.
- The first Indian sports team to do around-the-world tour was the 1932 Indian hockey team. They played matches in Colombo, Malaya, Tokyo, Los Angeles, Oman, Philadelphia, Amsterdam, Berlin, Prague and Budapest, before triumphantly returning to the shores of India.
- India also has to her credit the largest victory margin in a pool match (India 24 – USA 1 in the 1932 Olympics), and the largest number of consecutive victories (30 wins on the trot from 1928 to 1960).
- Sansarpur, a tiny village on the outskirts of Jalandhar, has the distinction of producing 9 Olympians – Gurmit Singh (1932), Udham Singh (1952, ’56,’60, ’64), Gurdev Singh (1956), Darshan Singh (1964), Jagjit Singh (1964,’68), Balbir Singh – Services, Balbir Singh – Punjab and Tarsem Singh (1968),and the World Cup winning captain Ajitpal Singh (1968, ’72, ’76).
- The most common surname among Indian hockey players is Singh. As a foreign journalist wrote in his dispatch, “Singh initiated the move. After dodging past a defender, Singh passed the ball to Singh, who centered it to Singh and Singh scored the goal with a reverse flick.”