Integrity Score 759
The 1928 Olympic hockey team (India). Nine in the squad were Anglo Indians
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India's hockey legacy
For Anglo-Indians, hockey is part of their identity
Bengal was the first major hub of the Indian hockey and to be precise, we can say Kolkata, then Calcutta, was the pioneer of Indian hockey.
The world’s oldest hockey tournament, Beighton Cup, was started in 1895, and the Calcutta Hockey League was started in 1905. The Bengal Hockey Association was formed in 1908, twenty years before the formation of the national body of the sport.
In the first twenty years of the
Calcutta Hockey League (from 1905 to 1924) – the premier tournament of the country in those days – the Anglo-Indian teams completely dominated the scene, winning the league on 17 occasions.
In the 1936 Olympics squad, seven players, including five Anglo-Indians, were from Kolkata.
“For Anglo-Indians, hockey is much more than a game, it is part of their identity,” said Noel Thomos, who did extensive research on Anglo-Indians contribution in the Indian hockey. He had an opportunity to interview some of the Anglo Indian stars, who represented India in the pre-Independence era. He interviewed Joe Galibardy – India's 1936 Berlin Olympic hockey squad member – whose defence skills got him the nickname ‘Rock of Gibraltar’.
“Earlier, especially during the pre-Independence era, wherever there was the settlement of Anglo-Indians, either school, railways colony, or any suburb, a hockey team was formed and it (team) used to dominate,” added Noel.
Getting an assured government job under sports quota was also a major reason for popularizing the sport among the Anglo-Indians. And this was the main reason why the railway towns Jabbalpur, Bilaspur, Jamalpur, Kharagpur became some of the most famous hockey producing centres during 1930s-40s.
After independence many Anglo-Indians families migrated to Australia, England and Canada, so their presence in the national squad saw a big dip. But it was Anglo-Indians, who migrated to Australia in the 50's and had a major contribution in making their new country as one of the powerhouses of the sport. The 1928 Olympic gold medalist Norris remained the national coach of Netherlands between 1954 to 56 and in the 1960s he coached Italy. So, they have contributed in promoting hockey in Europe too.
To be continued...