Hockey medal!

Tokyo Olympics 2020, 5th Aug 2021.

The last few seconds of the bronze-medal match was not for the faint-hearted. Just as well that I wasn’t seeing it live. Carrying 1.3 billion dreams, and making them come true!

When people say that winning and losing doesn’t matter, it’s not quite real. Of course playing the game in the right spirit is important, but not making it to the podium is heart-breaking, especially when it is by a whisker. (Germany, I know how it feels!) Every athlete has the dream of getting a medal around the neck, and when achieved it is so fulfilling!

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Hills, high-rises and hockey

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) training centre in Kandivali East, Mumbai is on a hill. The entry gate is just off the Western Express Highway and the road winds up about a kilometer. There are different facilities along the way, and a housing settlement too. The road finally ends at the top of the hill, at the SAI office. This is where the suburban press of The Times of India is also located.

So near, and yet so far away from the speeding cars and bustling streets, the AstroTurf hockey ground against the backdrop of the hills and high-rises is a hidden part of Amchi Mumbai!

SAI hockey ground Mumbai

The joys of a hockey gold!

The thought of an India-Pakistan hockey match brings back memories of the finals of the 1982 Asian Games. India was the reining Olympic hockey champion having won the gold medal at Moscow 1980, and expectations were high. Pakistan was looking to extend its winning streak at the Asian Games, having lost just the one time in Bangkok 1966.

The 1982 Asiad was the time colour television transmission was just introduced in India. Bangalore had just got its own Doordarshan Kendra, and with it we were able to watch the games in colour! With TV in Bangalore having been introduced just a year earlier, we had a B&W television set at home, but still, there were places we could go to, to catch the scenes in brilliant colour. Continue reading