Jamshedpur hockey hopes to return to golden days

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    City set to host JSA Hockey League from Aug 20

    Jamshedpur: The JSA Hockey League, started by hockey players and enthusiasts of the game in 1963, continues to be a passion and an identity of Jharkhand. The Chotanagpur region was then known for its love for hockey and so was the area surrounding Jamshedpur a city bustling with sporting activities.

    Accordingly, the JSA Hockey League was born out of such passion and at the instance of lovers of the game such as K. C. Gandhi, a Superintendent of the Transportation Department of Tata Steel who was a great hockey player himself, along with Jimmy Thomas who was a teacher at St. Mary’s School, Bistupur and also a hockey player from St. Mary’s Club, Bistupur.

    However, the two big names like TISCO (Tata Steel) and TELCO (Tata Motors) who later became fierce competitors in the League were never part of the original League which started in 1963. Initially, there were about 12 to 15 teams, like Birsa Club, Mango Club, Parsudih Club, Adiwasi Development Welfare Association, Adityapur Club, Kadma Boys Club etc.

    The tournament used to be played at Kadma Boys’ School ground. Later, when teams like Tata Steel, Tata Motors, Punjab Sporting Club and others entered the fray in 1966, the League started getting a glamorous appeal, the competition became tougher and there were large number of followers of the game. It was during this period that the competition between TISCO and TELCO became a very much anticipated event.

    Players began to be recruited from Khunti, Simdega and Gumla regions as well as from outside the State like Uttar Pradesh, both by TISCO and TELCO teams. This was and still is often referred to as the ‘Golden Era’ of Jamshedpur hockey. This was the time when the hockey teams of Jamshedpur played for two trophies in a season – Mathur Shield and Shanti Shield adding further charm in the JSA Hockey League.

    However, with the onset of astro-turf, polygrass etc as playing surfaces for hockey, the demand for grass court hockey players declined and so did the popularity of the game in Jamshedpur resulting in less recruitment of hockey players. By 2006 the number of participating teams in the JSA Hockey League declined to 8 resulting in the shutting down of the League.

    Things took a turn for the better in 2016 17 with a fresh start to the game. This year a JSA Hockey Sub Committee has been formed under the Chairmanship of Ritu Raj Sinha, Chief (Corporate Administration) which met on July 4th and decided to conduct the JSA Hockey League from August 20 – 24, 2018 at the Naval Tata Hockey Academy ground. For the first time Hockey players of East Singbhum will get an opportunity to play on Astro turf at The Naval Tata Hockey Academy Stadium.

    Registration process for players and teams will start from last week of July. The charges are Rs. 500/- as entry fee for the private clubs and Rs. 2000/- for Corporate teams. Contact person for registration is Arun Sinha, at the JRD Tata Sports Complex.

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