Field Hockey is the national game of Pakistan and wearing green shirts represent the Pakistan Hockey Federation in international field hockey competitions. Even though field hockey is the national sport of Pakistan but it is less famous than cricket. Pakistan was at the top of their game when they played Australia in Rome in 1960. Pakistan won their last Olympic gold at Los Angeles in 1984, and their last Olympic medal - a bronze - at Barcelona in 1992. They won their last hockey World Cup in 1994. They also won gold medal in the 2010 Asian Games, but their performances before and after that event have been dismal.
Pakistan's hockey players too have seen times of greatness, winning three Olympic gold and four World Cup titles, which is still a record. Experts say the decline of Asian hockey coincides with the advent of artificial turf that gained currency in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It changed the dynamics of Asian hockey, rendering the dribble-and-dodge game of short passes that Indians and Pakistanis were so good at completely obsolete.
Pakistan has been one of the most successful teams in international competitions, having won a world record four Hockey World Cup titles in 1971, 1978, 1982 and 1994. They have also come in second place twice. Pakistan has won the Men's Hockey Gold Medal in the Olympics a total of three times in 1960, 1968, and 1984. Pakistan has also won 3 silver and 2 bronze medals as listed below:
Silver 1956 – Melbourne, Australia
Gold 1960 – Rome, Italy
Silver 1964 – Tokyo, Japan
Gold 1968 – Mexico City, Mexico
Silver 1972 – Munich, Germany
Bronze 1976 – Montreal, Canada
Gold 1984 – Los Angeles, USA
Bronze 1992 – Barcelona, Spain
In Pakistan, the younger generation is more inclined towards playing cricket without realising that hockey is their national game. An increasingly fractious population has in the past found itself unified and elevated by victories on the hockey and cricket pitch. This sport demands greater physical fitness than before and experts say, sports facilities in Pakistan do not provide opportunity to match the fitness levels of West. Also, the International Hockey Federation has over the decades changed some basic rules of the game that the Asians had mastered in their heyday. In Pakistan, there have also been noises in some quarters to the effect that the Pakistan Hockey Federation has become politicised and corrupt. Pakistanis hope that one day our national team will win back the lost glory of the national sport.
Hockey is our national game. The game is played all over the country in all the states. India was the world champion in hockey for many years. Hockey has now become popular in many countries. Pakistan, Holland, Germany, England and Australia play the game very well. There is a keen competition at the international level.
Hockey is a fast game. Players can be seen running in the field all through when the game is in progress. Every minute there is a mo0ve, which may change the chances in the game. Hence everyone is alert all through. The goal keeper, the centre forwards, the right and left backs are all important in the game. It is a team work that leads to success. Our country has produced a number of world class players. Dhyan Chand is one such, who is called the wizard of hockey. In fact Punjab contributes more number of players to the game of hockey.
India first became the world champion, in hockey, in 1928, by winning the Gold Medal at Amsterdam Olympics. Since then, it continued to be the champion till it lost in the Rome Olympics. It came down to the seventh place in the Montreal Olympics. India regained the Gold Medal at Moscow Olympics in 1980. We lost the Gold Medal in 1984.
Hockey, kike cricket, is a popular game in our country. It is not a costly one. Hockey is played both by men and women. Inter-school competitions and state level competitions are held for schools. The following trophies are associated with the game of hockey (1) Dhyan Chand Trophy (2) Lady Ratan Trophy (for women) (3) Nehru Trophy (4) Scindia Gold Cup and (5) Ragaswamy Cup.
I had the opportunity to be a member of the winners of a State-level hockey match at Kurnool this year. This important match was between Andhra Pradesh Residential School. Tadikonda and the Coles High School, Kurnool. As you know the game of hockey is very popular in Kurnool district. Before the game commenced at 3.30 P.M. the contesting teams were introduced to the chief guest.
The Andhra Pradesh Residential School boys were on the offensive right from the beginning. They were quick in moving the ball deep into the enemy’s camp. They succeeded in getting two penalty corners. However, they could not succeed in scoring the goals as the Kurnool goal keeper succeeded in stopping both the penalty corner shots. He looked every formidable indeed; although the Kurnool team dominated during the first-half of the game, the Coles school team stole the thunder during the second half. They also succeeded in getting two penalty corners during the last ten minutes of the game. They succeeded in scoring two goals. Bhasker, the centre forward of the Kurnool team, scored these goals, and became the ‘Star of the evening”. Thus the game ended in favour of Coles school team. They won the state level hockey championship on account of their superior skill in the game.
The chief guest congratulated both the teams for their excellent performance. He gave away the trophy to the winning team. The Residential School Boys, who did their best, accepted the verdict in good spirit. There is a great truth in the saying “Failures are the stepping stones for success”.