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The Advent of the Nehru Hockey Tournament Society
(The Cradle of Indian Hockey)
The advent of Nehru Hockey’s Senior open tournament in Delhi in the mid – 60’s was a boost in the arm for the game.

The Nehru tournament was the best thing that happened to Indian hockey and when the organizers with some big names as patrons and bureaucracy running the show expanded the idea and introduced tournament for juniors and sub – juniors, the public feeling was that Indian hockey had a last found a good base to sustain itself.

The Society has a very high profile administration with some influential people who have held senior - most positions in the Government and have the same time been connected with the game at one stage or other. It has now entered into the 50th year of its fruitful existence.

What prompted the birth of the Society is an interesting story, worth recalling, though briefly. The shock defeat of the Indian team in 1960 Rome Olympic final to our archrivals Pakistan, breaking the country’s longest chain of success in Olympic Games since as far back as in 1928, brought an amalgamation of Hockey lovers and Olympians, who had put their collective ideas for the revival of the National game, formed the Society in 1964, named after the sports loving country’s first Prime Minister, Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru.

The organization of the tournaments is in the capable hands of Dr. D.R. Saini, Vice-President of Society and Chairman, Tournament Committee and Ms. Archna Arora, IAS(Chairperson, NDMC) as Chairperson of the Managing Committee.

The rising force of energy indicated fresh attitudes and enthusiasm in personal and professional aspects. They are led from the front by no less a strong – willed personality than Shri Arun Subhashchandra Yadav, M.P. and former Union Minister of State and Cdr. G. Nandy Singh (Retd.), a two time Olympic gold medalist and the recipient of the Nation’s most prestigious Dhyan Chand Award for lifetime achievements in sports. There is no dearth of high profile personalities like Dr. Dilip Tirkey, triple Olympian and Shri Kukoo Walia, the renowned international umpire and unable administrator, the two vibrant exponent of hockey culture across the country. Their joining the Society as Vice-President and Secretary respectively, has given the Indian hockey the much needed fillip to put the game back on the right track. The other dedicated persons are Sarvshri Harbinder Singh, Triple Olympian, Subhash Kapur, Ramesh Kapur, H.S. Hanspal, Rohit Chauhan, N.L. Narang, I.D. Kapur just to name a few.

Persons in high positions in the Union Government immediately came forward to give the Society a proper shape, and identity and also a system by heading the nascent organization. Such big names as those of Union Cabinet Ministers A. K. Sen (Law), Y. B. Chavan (Defence), Ram Niwas Mirdha (Communications) and Sharad Pawar (Agriculture) gave it a boost. The other celebrities like H. C. Sarin (Secretary Defence), S. Ratnan (Secretary Finance), Maj. General Virendra Singh (DG NCC), Saiyid Hanid (Chairman, Handard University) and Subir Raha (Chairman, ONGC) involved themselves wholeheartedly and became an integral part of Society. India’s.

Not so long ago the supreme head of the Nation used to personally preside over the finals of the Main Tournament. The exalted personalities were Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, Dr. Zakir Hussain, Shri V. V. Giri, Shri Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad, Shri Neelam Sanjiva Reddy and Giani Zail Singh. In the inaugural year (1964) the function was inaugurated by Smt. Vijyalakshmi Pandit and presided over by the Prime Minister Shri Lal Bhadulr Shastri.

The Society began its activities in 1964 with a senior open tournament. Inspired by its instant success as it attracted a good number of recognized foreign teams, it started age-group competitions in 1972 for under 17 and later under 15 school boys. The Union Government scholarships and prize money are awarded to the winners and outstanding players as incentive to attract the youngsters to the National game. It also prompted the Society to seriously promote the game at the university leveling order to build up a strong second line of defence through the youth power. And in consultation with the IHF and the Association of Indian University (AIU) conceived the Champion Colleges Tournament in 1993.
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