KDHA to revive hockey soon | Sunday Observer

KDHA to revive hockey soon

Hockey lovers in the hill capital are glad with the news of the revival of hockey by the newly elected Kandy District Hockey Association committee.

Plans to organize the club sevens, league and the knockout tournaments, which were not functioning for some time and the tournaments will begin soon. The new committee comprising people like R. Maheswaran, T. Jayasinghe, MH Marikar GG Darmarthne, MAM Ashroff, P. Kumara, R. Hemantha, S. Dissanayake, AB Godigamuwa N. Paranidaran are trying their best to bring hockey to its former glory. Some years ago hockey was extremely popular in Kandy.

Hockey in Kandy dates far back as far as 1907, when the Indian Rajput Regiments occupied the Kandy Military Barracks, currently known as Police Barracks. During that time St. Anthony’s College was housed at the present St. Sylvester’s College premises and they used the barracks square for all their sports. The boys of that era were drawn to the game and tried their hand at knocking the ball around with a borrowed stick or two. The fearless youngsters found some places vacant whenever the military men did not turn up for their games. Gradually, more boys found the glamour of the game and in a matter of few months joined the Indian Military men.

In 1909, one of the Antonian students, by the name of Charlie Hamilton, who was a little prodigy, played as center half. This lion-hearted lad was one of those who had learnt the game the hard way while in the company of the Indian stalwarts. That year a team picked from Kandy traveled down to Colombo to play against Municipal Council of Colombo and Bloomfield C &AC at the end of Ocotber .

The first match was drawn, each side scoring a goal, and the hero of these two games was Charlie Hamilton, whose play earned repeated rounds of applause. The sad part was after the teams returned from Colombo, Charlie was suddenly taken ill and died on the 5th of November 1909, with his demise the game also died a natural death.

Again in 1926, Kandy Sports Club with Europeans started a tournament. It was revived again in 1930s when P.T. Rajan stepped in to introduce the game to the schools and clubs. The league and the knockout tourneys were introduced by P.T. Rajan who gave a push to the game, along with M.S. Jainudeen. V.D. Paul and J.O. Mendis to promote hockey with only a hand full of clubs showing interest. The teams during that period were Indian Students Hostel, presently known as Aoska Viidyalaya, St. Anthony’s College under the name of “Hotspurs”, Trinity College under the name of “Rabbits”, Kingswood College, Kandy Rovers SC and Imperial Motor Garage Hockey Club. As the years rolled by hockey flourished in Kandy with several schools in and around Kandy taking to hockey. During the World War large number of clubs and schools including foreign teams played in Kandy. So, hockey in Kandy was well organized with local tournaments in full swing. In 1944, the Kandy District Hockey Association conducted one of its finest tournaments where 14 teams participated in the league. Kandy Rovers had the distinction of winning the league championship and also played that year in the Connor Cup and the Andriesz Shield tournaments in Colombo.

During the next few years, the standard of hockey was fairly high and in 1950 P.T. Rajan presented a trophy named the P.T. Rajan Cup for the league tournament. Matale who played in the Kandy League, were gradually making their presence felt and won the league championship under George Mant, the man who took hockey to Matale form Kandy. During that time there was P.T. Rajan Cup for League, M.S. Jainudeen Cup for the League Runners-Up, and Seven-a-Side Tournament for K.P.M.M. Seyed Ahamed Challenge Cup and the V.H.L. Anthonisz Challenge Cup for the knock-out tournament Later, M.S. Jainudeen took over the mantle as President and P. Thangavelu became the Secretary of Kandy District Hockey Association. It was Thangavelu who improved hockey at St. Sylvester’s. People like P.T. Rajan,

At present most of the schools in Kandy play hockey and one time it was the most famous sport among the schools in Kandy. It is also popular among the girls schools as well.

In the recently played schools hockey nationals which was for the 50th time, Girls presented two teams Kandy Blues and Reds, the Blues team emerged as champions. The two boys team with the same names came up to the quarter finals. Kandy has also produced some of the best coaches who have helped schools to reach the top.