Indian hockey Olympic team gets unique send-off

Updated: 25 June 2012 11:49 IST

The Indian hockey team is in its last leg of preparations for the London Olympics. Before leaving on an exposure trip to France and Spain ahead of the Games, the team had a rather unique sendoff ceremony, which turned into a very nostalgic affair.

New Delhi:

The Indian hockey team is in its last leg of preparations for the London Olympics. Before leaving on an exposure trip to France and Spain ahead of the Games, the team had a rather unique sendoff ceremony, which turned into a very nostalgic affair.

Current captain Bharat Chettri and the team got blessings from none other than hockey legend Leslie Claudius who is the only Indian to have won four Olympic medals, including three golds.

Even at the age of 85, Claudius' memories of the Olympic Games are as vivid as ever.

"When there's the march past during the opening ceremony we, the hockey players, took the Indian team into the stadium and there is a lakh and half people standing up and cheering for you... that is what you'll never forget in your life. It's like you're transported to heaven"

In a unique initiative, Hockey India (HI) on Sunday felicitated 34 yesteryear stars of the game with a one-time benefit of Rs. two lakhs for winning gold medals in the previous Olympic Games. But this was more than just a felicitation ceremony.

"Dream come true. Buzurgo ka aashirwaad bahut maayne rakhta hai (Blessings of the elders really matters)," said centre forward Shivendra Singh.

India, eight-time Olympic gold medallists, last won a medal in 1980. And though they're in a tough group this time and a medal is a distant dream, there's no doubt that this rather unique send off will serve as a huge motivation.  

"Olympic gold medal ko dekhna, apne haath mein hold karke feel karna, that's something... hum realise karte hai, this is what we are fighting for (To hold the Olympic gold medal, to feel it in your hands is something. We realise this is what we are fighting for)," said forward Tushar Khandker.

Seeing so many Olympic gold medallists together at the same time, is nothing short of a fairy tale. And while most of the current Indian hockey players may've not heard or met any of these players before, they're hoping that the blessings from these legends will help them go a long way at the London Olympics.

Complete list of players who were felicitated:
V Baskaran (Gold-1980 Moscow), Rajinder Singh (Gold-1980 Moscow), B B Chetri (Gold-1980 Moscow), Sylvanus Dung Dung (Gold-1980 Moscow), Davinder Singh Garcha (Gold-1980 Moscow), Gurmail Singh (Gold-1980 Moscow), Ravinder Pal (Gold-1980 Moscow), M M Somaya (Gold-1980 Moscow), M K Kaushik (Gold-1980 Moscow), Charanjit Kumar (Gold-1980 Moscow), Surinder Singh Sodhi (Gold-1980 Moscow), Mervyn Fernandes (Gold-1980 Moscow), Zafar Iqbal (Gold-1980 Moscow), Mohd Shahid (Gold-1980 Moscow), Balbir Singh (Gold-1964 Tokyo; Bronze-1968 Mexico), Dharam Singh Mann ((Gold-1964 Tokyo; Bronze-1968 Mexico), Harbinder Singh (Gold-1964 Tokyo; Bronze-1968 Mexico; 1972 Munich), Gurbux Singh (Gold-1964 Tokyo; Bronze-1968 Mexico), A S Bakshi (Gold-1956 Melbourne), Harpal Kaushik (Gold-1956 Melbourne; 1964 Tokyo; Silver-1960 Rome), Hardayal Singh (Gold-1956 Melbourne), R S Bhola (Gold-1956 Melbourne; Silver- 1960 Rome), Raghbir Lal (Gold-1952 Helsinki; 1956 Melbourne), Jaswant Rajout (Gold-1948 London; 1952 Helsinki), Keshav Dutt (Gold-1948 London; 1952 Helsinki); Leslie Claudius (Gold-1948 London; 1952 Helsinki; 1956 Melbourne), S M Ali Syed (Gold-1964 Tokyo), Charanjit Singh (Gold-1964 Tokyo; Silver-1960 Rome), G Nandy Singh (Gold-1948 London; 1952 Helsinki), Balbir Singh Senior ((Gold-1948 London; 1952 Helsinki; 1956 Melbourne), A S Rana (Gold-1980 Moscow), Allan Sheofield (Gold-1980 Moscow), Darshan Singh (Gold-1964 Tokyo), Gurdev Singh (Gold-1980 Moscow).

Watch: Former greats felicitated

Topics : Hockey Hockey India League Team India Olympics 2012
Related Articles
Asia Cup Hockey 2017: India Face Pakistan Again On October 21 In Super 4s Stage
Asia Cup Hockey 2017: India Face Pakistan Again On October 21 In Super 4s Stage
Asia Cup 2017: Red-Hot India To Play South Korea In Super 4s On Wednesday
Asia Cup 2017: Red-Hot India To Play South Korea In Super 4s On Wednesday
Virender Sehwag Thanks Indian Hockey Team For Giving Early Diwali Gift After Win Over Pakistan In Asia Cup
Virender Sehwag Thanks Indian Hockey Team For Giving Early Diwali Gift After Win Over Pakistan In Asia Cup
Show Comments
Advertisement