The Beighton Cup is the oldest field Hockey tournament held in India. The tournament was organised for the first time at Kolkata
(formerly Calcutta) in the year 1895 and is being organised annually, since then, usually conducted on the Mohun Bagan ground on the Maidan
in Kolkata. The tournament is counted amongst the most prestigious hockey tournaments in the world. The Beighton Cup was named after the then Legal Remembrancer of the Government of Bengal, Mr. T. D. Beighton. The Indian Football Association was in charge of organising the Beighton Cup in the first few years. However, the tournament is organised by the Bengal Hockey Association, at present.
Origin of Beighton Cup
The inception of Beighton Cup is closely related with the history of Hockey in India. Hockey was brought to India by the British rulers during the later half of the 19th century. Hockey was first played in an organised manner in Kolkata and the first Hockey club of India was also established in Kolkata. The Beighton Cup was organised as a part of popularising Hockey in India and it has so far played a major role in spreading hockey throughout India. The Beighton Cup led the way for inauguration of Calcutta Hockey League in the year 1905.
Almost all the major hockey clubs of India during the late 1800s took part in the Beighton Cup in 1895. The clubs like the Calcutta Naval Volunteers Club (now known as Calcutta Rangers Club), Calcutta Customs, Jhansi Heroes, etc. were the premier participants of the tournament in the initial years. Among these teams, the Calcutta Rangers Club has the distinction of winning the Beighton Cup for 9 times, including the inaugural edition. During the 1940s and 1950s, Bengal had excellent teams in Kolkata like Customs and Port Commissioners, and Bengal-Nagpur
Railway in Kharagpur
Recent Developments of Beighton Cup
The Beighton Cup is now played among the teams coming from different governmental organisations and corporate houses. The teams like Indian Airlines, the Border Security Force, the Punjab
and Sind Bank, the Army XI, the Indian Oil Corporation, the Punjab Police, the Central Reserve Police Force
, the Central Industrial Security Force, etc. are some of the prominent participants of the Beighton Cup in the recent years. The winners of the recent tournaments include Central Industrial Security Force, Chandigarh
in 2001, Punjab Police in 2002, Border Security Force, Jalandhar
in 2003, Punjab and Sind Bank in 2004, Border Security Force, Jalandhar in 2005, Punjab and Sind Bank in 2006 and Indian Airlines
The Beighton Cup has made a huge contribution to Indian Hockey
, since its inception. There was a time when the Indian national hockey team was selected based on the players` performances in this tournament only. The tournament has also given birth to numerous extremely talented Indian hockey players.