The game of Hockey has a glorious presence in the winner's list of the Arjuna Award in 1966, when three Hockey players claimed the award. These players were Sunita Puri, Gurbaksh Singh and V. J. Peter. Then in 1967, Harbinder Singh and Mohinder Lal jointly won the award and it was won by Cadet Balbir Singh in 1968. After having another winner less year in 1969, the legendary Hockey player, Ajit Pal Singh took Hockey to the winners' list of Arjuna Award in 1970. The following two years of 1971 and 1972 saw P. Krishnamurthy and Michael Kindo winning the award, respectively. The year of 1973 saw joint award winners for Hockey, as both Dr. O. Mascarenhas and M. P. Ganesh received the award.
The Indian Hockey players continuously won the Arjuna Award in pairs, in the following few years. In 1974, the winners were A. Kaur and Ashok Kumar and it was won by R. Saini and B. P. Govinda in 1975. While, Capt. Harcharan Singh and L. L. Fernandes jointly won the award in the years of 1977-78, the year 1979-80 saw R. B. Mundphan and V. Bhaskaran winning it. Again in 1980-81, two Hockey players named Md. Shahid and Eliza Nelson became successful to win the award. Versha Soni was the sole winner of the award in 1981. There was no winner Arjuna Awardee from Hockey in the next year of 1982 and in 1983, Zafar Iqbal won the award. The winners of this award in 1984 and 1985 were Rajbir Kaur and P. Maya Sonia, respectively. The award was also won by Panda Muthanna and S. Maney in the same year of 1985.
A period of irregularity started for the Arjuna Awardees in Hockey from the year 1986. J. M. Carvalho won the award in 1986 and no Hockey player could win it in the next year. In 1988, it was won by M.P. Singh and the award went to Pragat Singh in 1989. Jagbir Singh won the award in 1990, before the year 1991 went winner less for Hockey. After Mervyn Fernandes won the Arjuna Award in 1992, the year 1993 went winner less and Jude Felix Sebastian won the award again in 1994. However, the regularity of the Hockey players winning Arjuna Award again started from the year 1995, when famous Hockey player Dhanraj Pillay and Mukesh Kumar jointly won the award. Hockey had joint winners in 1996 also, as both A. B. Subbaiah and Ashish Kumar Ballal received the award. The year 1997 saw three Hockey players winning the award and the players were Harmik Singh, Rajinder Singh and Surinder Singh Sondhi.
A large number of ten Hockey players won the Arjuna Award in the year 1998 and the players were Late S. Surjit Singh, Lt. Col. (Retd.) Haripal Kaushik, Md. Riyaz, Ms. Pritam Rani, B.S. Dhillon, Baldev Singh, Maharaj Krishna Kaushik, Ramandeep Singh, V. J. Phillips and Ms. S. Omana Kumari. In 1999, the award went to Balbir Singh Kullar and Baljeet Singh Saini was named as the Arjuna Awardee in Hockey in 2000. However, there were six players, who won the award in 2000 including Capt. R. S. Bhola (Retd.), Ms. Madhu Yadav, Ms. Tingonleima Chanu, Jalaluddin Rizvi, Jalaluddin Rizvi, Balkishan Singh and Baljeet Singh Saini. The Arjuna Awardees in Hockey in 2001 were Ms. Sita Gusain and Dilip Kumar Tirkey won the award and in 2002, Ms. Mamta Kharab and Shri Gagan Ajit Singh jointly won the award. The following two years of 2003 and 2004 saw the Hockey players winning the award in pairs. Amongst them, Ms. Suraj Lata Devi and Devesh Chauhan won it in 2003 and Deepak Thakur and Innocent Helen Mary won the award in 2004. The award was won by Viren Rasquinha in 2005 and in 2007; Jyoti Sunita Kulu received the Arjuna Award for Women hockey. The Arjuna Award was presented to the famous and talented Hockey player, Prabhjot Singh in 2008, for his wonderful contribution to Indian Hockey.
The names and the performances of the Indian Hockey players as far as the "Arjuna Award" is concerned, is quite evident that the game of Hockey has dominated the winners' list of the "Arjuna Award", quite comprehensively. The fact also reveals the truth that the games of Athletics and Hockey are amongst the all time top two games of Indian sports history.
(Last Updated on : 21-07-2014)
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