New Delhi, 14 May 2014: An effort which started in 2012, of felicitating Legends who contributed through their performance on the field, Hockey India continued this initiative on the occasion of the Indian Men Hockey Team announcement for the upcoming Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014. Hockey India today invited and felicitated Legends who played and brought home the only World Cup for India in the year 1975 held at Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Also present for the occasion were eminent guests Mr. Arun Jaitley, Member Advisory Board Hockey India League, Member Parliament & Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Mr. Ajit M Sharan, Secretary Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Mr. Jiji Thomson, Director General Sports Authority of India and Mr. Rajeev Mehta, Secretary General Indian Olympic Association.
The grand felicitation cum team announcement event witnessed the presence of all the 13 Living legends alongwith the wives of Late Shri Surjit Singh and Late Shri Shivaji Parwar, brother of Late Shri. Mohinder Singh converge at the Hotel Holiday Inn, New Delhi. Hockey India felicitated each one of them with a one-time payment of Rs. 1,75,000. These legends then wished the entire team for the FIH World Cup and were even seen advising the players for the forthcoming tournament
While the then Captain Ajit Pal Singh was very forthcoming in his praise for Sardar Singh and the way he has led the team since he has come on the helm, he even went on to advise him to keep his cool and not allow pressure of the big platform overcome him. On the other hand Leslie Fernandez the goalkeeper for the 1975 World Cup was seen with both PR Sreejesh and Harjot Singh in an intimate chat.
Speaking on the occasion Dr. Narinder Batra, Secretary General, Hockey India said “It’s a moment of pride for me today as I stand here with those players who not only won the World Cup but gave us the reason to be called the Champions. It’s an honor for Hockey India to felicitate the legends who brought the country on the forefront in the game and because of which many teams were apprehensive while facing us on the field. I am sure, history will repeat itself very soon and the players of this generation too will give us the same joy”.
The lists of invitees included Mr. Ajit Pal Singh who captained and led the team to victory during the 1975 World Cup. He even has to his credit of representing the prestigious tournament on three occasions where he represented the team for 1971 World Cup, Barcelona wherein the team bagged the Bronze and in 1973 World Cup, Amsterdam where they bought back the Silver. He even was part of two Olympics Games in Mexico 1968 (Bronze) and 1972 (Bronze). He won the Arjuna Award in 1970 and Padamshree in 1992 for his contribution to the sport from the Government of India. Mr. Ashok Kumar, son of legendary Late Major Dhyan Chand is the first of two Indians who represented India for 4 World Cup tournaments which included Barcelona 1971 (Bronze), 1973 Amsterdam (Silver), Kuala Lumpur 1975 (Gold) and Buenos Aires 1978. He was also instrumental in scoring the winning goal for India against Pakistan in the finale of the 1975 World Cup. Mr. Ashok Kumar also participated in the two Olympic Games in Munich 1972 (Bronze) and Montreal 1976.
Amongst other invitees, were Mohd. Aslam Sher Khan, defender and his contribution during the 1975 World Cup cannot be forgotten. He even represented India during the Olympic Games in Munich 1972 (Bronze), Brig. Harcharan Singh VSM also represented India at three World Cups in Barcelona 1971 (Bronze), Amsterdam 1973 (Silver) and Kuala Lumpur 1975 (Gold) alongwith one Olympic bronze medal in Munich 1972. Mr. Leslie Fernandez whose goalkeeping is still talked about after so many years was also part of the World Cup winning squad. Dhyan Chand Life Time Achievement Awardee Mr. Varinder Singh was also part of the Indian Team that won Silver Medal at the World Cup in Amsterdam 1973 and represented India at two Olympic Teams in 1972 (Bronze) and 1976. Mr. Ashok Diwan a Dhyan Chand Life Time Achievement Awardee in 2002. Mr. Michael Kindo who played at the full back position and was honored with the Arjuna Award for his achievements. He represented India at 3 World Cups which also included Barcelona 1971 (Bronze) and Amsterdam 1973 (Silver) alongwith one Olympic Games in Munich 1972 (Bronze).
Mr. B.P. Govinda, current Chairman of the Selection Committee of Hockey India apart from being a part of the winning team in 1975 was also in the team of World Cup in Amsterdam 1973 (Silver) alogwith two Olympic Games in Munich 1972 (Bronze) and Montreal 1976, Brig. HJS Chimni who played at the centre forward position during the World Cup and whose contribution was vital for the win. Mr. V J Phillips who captained India at the Buenos Aires World Cup in 1978 was crucial member of 1975 World Cup winning team and also represented India at the two Olympic Games in Munich 1972 (Bronze) and Montreal 1978. Mr. Onkar Singh, youngest member of the World Cup 1975 winning team, later participated in the 1981 World Cup held at Mumbai. Mr. Kaliah P.E. the talented inside forward was also a part of the winning squad.
Late Shri. Surjit Singh who played three World Cups in Amsterdam 1973 (Silver), Kuala- Lumpur 1975 and Mumbai 1982 finally has to his credit of ensuring that the team won the tournament in 1975. He also played two Olympic Games in Munich 1972 (Bronze) and Montreal 1976, he was one of those players who scored 4 Olympic goals and which a player will be proud of on any given day. He even was part of the 1978 Asian Games and where the team bagged the Silver medal. For his important contribution to Indian Hockey, Late. Shri Surjit Singh was honored with Arjuna Award in 1998. Late Shri. Shivaji Pawar the great center forward was also instrumental in the win of the 1975 World Cup. Late Shri. Mohinder Singh was also one of the key player of the 1975 winning squad.
While all the Living Legends were present for the felicitation ceremony, on behalf of Late Shri. Surjit Singh Randhawa and Late Shri. Shivaji Pawar their wives Mrs. Chanchal Randhawa and Mrs. Sheela Pawar respectively were honored alongwith Mr. Satpal Singh, brother of Late Shri. Mohinder Singh.
Hockey India started the initiative of felicitating players in 2012, when all the living Olympic gold medalists were invited and presented one-time payment of Rupees Two Lakh, on the occasion of wishing the then Indian squad which was representing the country during the London Olympics that year.
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