New Delhi: Hockey India (HI) felicitated 13 living members of the 1975 World Cup winning side at a glittering ceremony here Wednesday.
Ajit Pal Singh, the captain of the 1975 team, Ashok Kumar, Aslam Sher Khan, Brigadier (retd) Harcharan Singh, Leslie Fernandez, Varinder Singh, Ashok Diwan, Michael Kindo, B.P. Govinda, Brigadier (retd) H.J.S. Chimni, V.J. Phillips, Onkar Singh and Kaliah P.E. were each honoured with a cheque of Rs.175,000 after 39 years of the historic win.
The widows of Surjit Singh and Shivaji Pawar and the brother of late Mohinder Singh collected the cheques.
The 1975 World Cup team was felicitated on the announcement of the squad for the World Cup in The Hague later this month.
The event was also attended by Arun Jaitley, member advisory board Hockey India League (HIL) and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha, Ajit M. Sharan, secretary Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, Jiji Thomson, director general Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Rajeev Mehta, secretary general Indian Olympic Association (IOA).
Ajit Pal hoped that the triumph of the 1975 team would inspire the current team to put up a good show in the World Cup. "I hope that our success in the 1975 World Cup would inspire the current team to put up a good show at the World Cup. I am confident that they will give their best to finish among the best teams in the world," he said.
However, some members of the team lamented that the recognition came too late after 39 years. "We deserved this recognition long time back. The 1975 win remains our only World Cup triumph. But better late than never," said Chimni.
Fernandez, a retired railways employee, wants more recognition for the players.
"We want more recognition. Not in terms of money, but we want that the HI should rope us in for technical guidance," he said.
HI secretary general Narinder Batra said it was a matter of pride for the federation to honour the 1975 greats.
"It's an honour 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," he said.