Several former Olympians were among around 6,000 sports buffs who took part in a colourful 'Walk for Hockey' to kick start the centenary celebrations of the Bengal Hockey Association in Kolkata on Sunday.
A galaxy of Indian hockey legends including Leslie Claudius, Keshav Dutt, Gurbux Singh, Jaswant Rajput, Ashok Kumar, Pargat Singh and Dhanraj Pillay rode on well decked-up phaetons as the rally wound its way from the southern part of the city to the centre aiming to create awareness about the national game and revive hockey in the state.
Ex-soccer Olympians Nikhil Nandy, P K Banerjee, Samar Banerjee as also Asian Games gold medal winning athlete Pinki Pramanick walked with other former and current players, school students, clubs and other celebrities during the 5 km march that ended at the Netaji Indoor stadium.
Flagged off by state Sports Minister Subhas Chakraborty from Park Circus Maidan, the rally had a large number of motorcyclists in the vanguard, with affiliate units of the Bengal Hockey Association lending it further lustre with their respective flags.
At the Netaji Indoor stadium, state Human Rights Commission chairman Mukul Gopal Mukherjee received the centenary torch and the function came to a close with a felicitation given to the ex-hockey Olympians.
Chakraborty said work on installing an astro-turf in the city would begin by next month.
"I have shown the BHA four spots - three in Salt Lake and another in Howrah. Now they have to take the final decision," he said.