“It was a real surprise for me, shocking and a pleasant one.” Those were the words from the Indian hockey legend Gurbux Singh, as he reminisced about the moment he was presented with the prestigious Hockey India Major Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award at the 5th Hockey India annual awards 2022 held last month here.
In the latest episode of ‘Hockey Te Charcha’, a podcast series launched by Hockey India, the two-time Olympic medallist shared the feeling of winning the lifetime achievement award and spoke on a variety of topics including the recent developments in the Indian hockey domestic structure.
“I am 88 today and whatever I have been able to do for hockey, I’ve always enjoyed it. Even to this day, at this stage, I become part of it in whatever small way possible. In my 65 years of hockey life, I’ve enjoyed doing everything and I take great pride in doing this. I’ve been a player, a coach, an international hockey umpire, manager, I’ve been secretary of the Bengal Hockey Association for 18 years as well, so everything I’ve done in hockey, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ve devoted my whole life to hockey and I thank Hockey India for recognising me,” Gurbux said.
The former India captain has received numerous accolades and awards throughout his career. He has two Olympic medals (Gold at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and Bronze at the 1968 Mexico Olympics) and an Asian Games Gold to his name. He was also conferred with the Arjuna Award for his contribution to the field of hockey.
Asked about the importance of Hockey India Major Dhyan Chand Lifetime Achievement Award 2022, Gurbux stated, “Of course, Olympic Gold medal, Asian Games Gold medal, they are the best and whatever an athlete can achieve in their life, but when you are recognised for what you have done, by your own fraternity Hockey India, that’s the ultimate thing.”
“I think one should value it a lot. It brought tears to my eyes, I almost choked while speaking because it was such a wonderful moment for me to go to the podium and speak. If I had known earlier, I would have prepared a speech,” he added.
From launching Grassroots Development Program to introducing the Player of The Match Award for each match and to announcing the streaming partnership for National Championships, Hockey India has recently taken up several initiatives to lift the profile of the sport in the domestic circuit.
Sharing his views on the recent initiatives taken up by Hockey India, the Indian hockey stalwart said, “It’s a step in the right direction. The rivalry between the state teams was very crucial at that time (when I used to play), so I think the National Championships of that level are important for the sport. I think it will make a lot of difference and I’ve also heard the Hockey India President talk about making the grassroots stronger, and I think he is on the right track and I am sure Hockey India will be able to do that,” he added.