Dec 28, 2015

Indian Hockey In Year 2015

What a year it has been for Indian hockey, full of excitement on the field with both men and women team touching new heights while controversies galore off it. The success on the field making Indian hockey fans happy but they were also saddened by the loss of legends of the game. Let us take a trip down the memory lane and check out how the year 2015 has been for Indian hockey:

Loss of Legend
Hockey Legent Jaswant Rajput at the age of 86

The year started with death of double Olympics Gold medal winner Jaswant Singh Rajput. 86 year old Jaswant Signh Rajput won gold medals for India in 1948 and 1952 Olympics and was part of fearsome foursome of Bengal Hockey formed with Leslie Claudius, Keshav Dutt and Meldric Deluz. Originally hailing from Delhi, Jaswant Singh made Bengal his home after 1948 Olympics on advice of his good friend and teammate Leslie Claudius. Jaswant Singh Rajput was suffering from age related illness from a month when he passed away. He passed away on Jan 28th 2015. Olympian Gurbax Singh paid a glowing tribute to Jaswant Singh saying' "He was a part of galaxy of stars that made Indian hockey proud"

Vandana Kataria Show

Vandana Kataria ran riot in HWL Round2
No one at the start of the year thought Indian women would achieve anything in the year 2015 but coach Mathias Ahrens and his group of girls had different plans in their mind. The team went to win Hockey World League Round 2 with Vandana Kataria destroying opposition after opposition in the tournament. Though she failed to score in the finals of the tournament but he was the top goal scorer of the tournament with 11 goals. Indian women team's exploits helped Indian women team win Hockey World League Round 2 which led to big... something really big.

Mission Impossible?? Not Anymore

As said above no one ever thought that Indian women hockey team would ever achieve anything but the achieved the impossible when they qualified for the Olympics for the first time in 35 years. Midfielder Rani Rampal was the star of the show as she scored the decisive goal in the 5-6th place match which helped India finish 5th in Hockey World League and hence qualify for the Rio Olympics. The news of Indian women team qualifying for Olympics went so viral that it became of the trending topics on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook.

Shashi Bala and her son agrim died an in accident
Another Shocking Demise

If the passing away of Jaswant Singh Rajput was not enough, the news of death of former Indian women captain Shashi Bala once again shocked the Indian hockey fans. She was travelling with her 14 year old son Agrim when her car collided with an oncoming vehicle. Shashi Bala made her debut in 1987 and was part of Indian team that played in 1998 Women World Cup. After her playing career ended, she became coach of Indian Railway Hockey Team and was working a selector of Hockey Punjab when she passed away.

Revolving Door of Coaches

Coach Paul Van Ass was sacked
With Indian hockey it’s next to impossible for a coach to complete his tenure and same was the case with Paul Van Ass who has sacked by Hockey India after just five months in his new job. A well known coach across the hockey circles, Coach Van Ass had a tiff with Hockey India president Narinder Batra after Batra entered the field and started bashing the players for poor performance. Batra who is not known for his mellow ways did not think twice before sacking him. The Paul Van Ass saga went on for nearly a month before Roelant Oltmans was handed his job.

The Ban

The year 2015 was also famous in India for various types of ban, with whole country banning something or the other, Hockey India could not stay behind as they banned midfielder Gurbaj Singh for creating 'groupism and disharmony' in the team, a charge which Gurbaj, coach and other players rubbished. Gurbaj had to go to High Court to get his ban overturned but that did not ease his woes. Gurbaj Singh is now out of Indian team waiting for a chance to prove himself once again.

Young Guns Rise

Harjeet led from front in Junior Asia Cup
With the senior players making some good progress on the field, India's young guns did not stay behind as they finished second in Sultan of Johor Cup. Captain Harjeet Singh led from the front winning Player of the Tournament award as the team scored 17 goals in the tournament were only beaten by Great Britain. The great form of India's young guns continued as they won Junior Asia Cup with an unbeaten record in which penalty corner expert Harmanpreet Singh scoring 14 goals in the tournament which included two hat-tricks.
Alia catches hockey bug

Movie Mania

Hockey became eye candy of Indian film industry as the film makers planning 4 movies on field hockey with biographies coming on Prithipal Singh, Sandeep Singh and Dhyan Chand. The success of Chak De India has caught the eye of Bollywood and with more movies in pipeline. With Bollywood showing its love to hockey, hockey fans of India are surely going to have a great time.

Jinx broken

Sreejesh was star of HWL Finals
India's record in the FIH tournaments before FIH Hockey World League Finals was a sorry one as Indian team had failed to win any medal in tournaments featuring top teams of world hockey but that changed as Indian team led by Sardar Singh broke the 33 year old jinx and won a bronze medal in HWL Finals after beating mighty Netherlands 3-2 in penalty shoot out. The Indian hockey fans were on cloud 9 after the wins and the celebrations lasting 2-3 days for the fans who do not have a lot to cheer about. Some of the fans even went ahead and called the win a perfect script for the sequel of Indian movie Chak De India!

The year turned out be a roller coaster ride for Indian hockey with new heights achieved on field while the Indian hockey management taking Indian hockey to too lows.

What was your biggest moment of Indian hockey in the year 2015? Let us know in the comments section below:

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