The newly constructed International Hockey Stadium with a blue artificial turf in Raipur, Chhattisgarh was inaugurated on the occasion of the 109th birth anniversary of the late Major Dhyan Chand and National Sports Day.
The stadium with a capacity of 4000 spectators was inaugurated by the Speaker of Chhattisgarh Legislative Assembly, Hon’ble Gauri Shankar Agarwal. Ramesh Bais, Member of Parliament was also present at the occasion. This is the second International Hockey Stadium with a blue astroturf inaugurated in the state after the International Hockey Stadium in Rajnandgaon which was inaugurated earlier this year.
The occasion also witnessed an exhibition match played between India ‘A’ and India ‘B’ teams. The players of the Silver Medal winning Indian Men Hockey Team at the recently concluded XX Commonwealth Games 2014 also played this exhibition match where Sardar Singh led India ‘A’ outplayed Vikram Kanth led India ‘B’ 4-1.
India ‘A’ dominated both the halves of exhibition match. Forward Nikkin Thimmaiah managed to beat opponent’s defenders and scored the first goal of the match in the 16th minute. However, India ‘B’ midfielder Harjeet Singh leveled the score 1-1 in the 20th minute through a field goal. In the 26th minute, Dharamvir Singh of India ‘A’ scored a goal and helped his team to lead the first half 2-1.
In the second half, India ‘A’ midfielders Chinglensana Singh Kangujam and Dharamvir Singh scored two goals each in 33rd and 44th minutes respectively to help their team win the match 4-1. The crowd was elated to see spectacular hockey from both sides and cheered for their favourite players till the final whistle of the match.
Speaking on the occasion, India ‘A’ Captain Sardar Singh said, “First of all I wish a very happy birthday to our inspiration, late Major Dhyan Chand on his 109th birth anniversary. It’s a great way to celebrate the Wizard’s birthday by playing an exhibition match, marking the inauguration of the International Hockey Stadium here today. This stadium will help to attract and motivate more youngsters to come forward and make a future in this game.”
Earlier, on the eve of the 109th birthday anniversary of ‘The Wizard’, the late Major Dhyan Chand, Hockey India wished and thanks him for all his contribution to the sport and the way he lifted the game during the era that he played. Speaking on the occasion Mariamma Koshy, President Hockey India said, “The late. Major Dhyan Chand was a player who makes us proud for his play and the way he tackled the opponents on the field. It is once in a lifetime that you see a Legend like him born, and Hockey India takes pride that this Legend belonged to the game of Hockey.”
Koshy further added, “What great honour can a sports icon get, when you see that the National Sports Day being celebrated in his name and on this day India witness’s sportspersons getting bestowed with the Dhyan Chand Life Time Achievement Award, Arjuna Award and Dronacharya Award. Hockey India and everyone associated with the game of Hockey would like to congratulate all sportspersons who have won the prestigious awards this year.”
Born on 29th August, 1905, Major Dhayn Chand is regarded as the greatest player of Hockey that the world has seen till date. Remembered for his amazing goal scoring feats, he is known as ‘The Wizard’ because of the way he controlled the ball leaving the opponents amazed and confused on how to control the Legend. Major Dhayn Chand earned 3 Olympic Gold medals in 1928, 1932 and 1936 and because of him India ruled the game of hockey during that period.