(Last Updated on : 11/01/2014)
Hockey is the national game of India and Indian Hockey Tournaments have been organised at the district level, state level, and national level. Hockey has a glorious history in India. Since the last decade of the nineteenth century, several hockey tournaments are organised in India on a regular basis. They are also organised at junior and senior levels, for both men and women hockey players. The tournaments play an important role in bringing out new talents for Indian hockey, from the grass route levels. Apart from the domestic tournaments, India also organises many regional and international tournaments at regular intervals. The Indian hockey tournaments are famous around the world for their high standard of playing.
Early Indian Hockey Tournaments
The Beighton Cup was the first hockey tournament organised in India. It was organised in Kolkata in the year 1895. Another tournament, the Aga Khan Cup was incepted in the following year, 1896 and was organised in Mumbai. The Senior National Hockey Championship for Men started its journey in the year 1928. The United Province became the champions of the inter-state tournament's first edition. The Senior National Hockey Championship for Women was instituted in 1947-48 and is organised regularly since then. While most of the Indian hockey tournaments are organised by the hockey governing bodies like Indian Hockey Federation and the state Hockey associations, there are a few that are organised by the corporate houses. Many teams including the state teams and club teams participate in the Indian hockey tournaments.
Major Indian Hockey Tournaments
The major Indian hockey tournaments played at the national level include the All India MCC Murugappa Gold Cup Hockey Tournament, Chennai; the All India Gurmit Memorial Hockey Tournament; the IndianOil Surjit Hockey Tournament, Jalandhar; the All India Chhatrapati Shivaji Hockey Tournament, Delhi; the All India Bombay Gold Cup Hockey Tournament, Mumbai; the All India Obaidullah Khan Gold Cup Hockey Tournament, Bhopal, etc. Besides these, the tournaments like All India Lal Bahadur Shastri Hockey Tournament, Delhi; the All India K D Singh Babu Memorial Invitational Prize Money Hockey Tournament, Lucknow; the All India Ramesh Chander Memorial Hockey Tournament, Jalandhar; the All India Liberals Hockey Tournament, Nabha; the All India Indira Gold Cup Hockey Tournament, Jammu; the All India Beighton Cup Hockey Tournament, Kolkata etc. are also organised regularly.
However, a newly introduced tournament named the Premier Hockey League (PHL) has been making waves in Indian hockey in the recent years. The PHL is organised by the Indian Hockey Federation in association with various corporate houses and it has brought a professional approach in Indian hockey.
Besides the domestic tournaments, the Indian Hockey teams also participate in several regional and international hockey tournaments on a regular basis. The Indian Men's Hockey Team and the Indian Women's Hockey Team have earned significant recognition at the international level, by winning many prestigious championships. The Indian Hockey teams regularly participate in the notable international tournaments like the Olympic Games, World Cup, Champions Trophy, Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, SAAF Games, etc.
Indian Performance at Hockey Tournaments
The Olympic Games is one of the most prestigious tournaments in which India have been participating successfully for several years. The Indian Men's Hockey team participated in the Olympics for the first time in 1928 and won the gold medal without conceding a single goal. India has an outstanding record of winning 6 straight Gold Medals in the Olympics from 1928-1956. India has won a total 8 Gold Medals so far at the Olympics, the last one being in the 1980 Moscow Olympics. Apart from the Olympic Games, the Indian Men's Hockey team has also won the tournaments like World Cup, Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament, SAAF Games, etc. in different occasions. However, India has never won the Champions Trophy.
Apart from the Indian Men's Hockey team, the Indian Women's Hockey team has also participated in several tournaments and earned significant recognition in the international level. The team has so far participated in the prestigious international tournaments like World Cup, Olympic Games, Hockey Champions Challenge, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Asia Cup, Afro-Asian Games, etc. The team became champion in the tournaments like Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Asia Cup and Afro-Asian Games and has also shown extraordinary performances in the other tournaments. The Indian Women's Hockey team has particularly been successful in the Asia Cup, where it has won total 4 medals, including 2 Golds, 1 Silver and 1 Bronze.
The Indian Hockey tournaments always provide grand platforms for the young and budding hockey players to perform and show their talents. The tournaments also play an important role in selecting talented players for the Indian national team. In fact, the Indian hockey tournaments can be called as the backbone of Indian hockey.