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Tatas honours former Olympic hockey captains
April 01, 2004 00:17 IST
Last Updated: April 01, 2004 00:20 IST
The House of Tatas honoured ten former captains of India's Olympic hockey teams and two former Olympians on Wednesday.
The Tata Group, which has a long-standing commitment to the development of sports and sportspersons in the country and recently sponsored the three-match hockey Test series between
India and Holland to commemorate the birth centenary of ex-Director Tata Sons and former Indian Hockey Federation president Naval Tata, felicitated the Olympians with a citation and a purse of Rs. 100,000 each at a simple ceremony in Mumbai.
The captains who were felicitated on the occasion include Balbir Singh (1956), Charanjit Singh (1964), Gurbux Singh (1968), Ajitpal Singh (1970), Harmik Singh (1972), V Bhaskaran (1980), Zafar Iqbal (1984), M M Sommaya (1988), Pargat Singh (1996) and Ramandeep Singh (2000).
Former Tata employees, Indian women's team coach M K Kaushik and Kulwant Arora were also felicitated.
Captain of the 1960 Tokyo Olympics gold medal-winning team Leslie Claudius and Leo Pinto could not attend the function.
"It is a matter of great pride for the Tata Group in honouring these stalwarts who have made tremendous contribution to Indian hockey and this is a humble gesture from our end to recognise and reward their commitment to the nations," Vice-President Corporate Affairs, Tata Services Limited, Romit Chaterji said on the occasion.
Balbir Singh, who captained India at the 1956 Olympics and represented the team in 1948 at London and 1952 at Helsinki, said such recognition to the players will go a long way in giving the sport a fillip.
"Hockey is our national game but it has been devalued in the past few years. We have the talent in the country to be on the top again. But somehow due recognition is not being given to hockey players which is one of the reasons of the decline of the sport.
"I wish many more industrial groups will come forward to support the sport and you can see the result," he said.
Expressing delight over the presence of the galaxy of stars of yesteryear at the function, Simon Tata, wife of late Naval Tata, expressed hope that the current hockey team would return triumphant from the Athens Olympics in August and the captain of the team would also be present at the next function.