Pitches and Patriots




Sporting events get that national spirit roaring all year round.  Be it the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Asiad, Cricket or Hockey, the country comes together to support their sports persons. On occasion of India’s 67th year of Independence, it is only right that while paying tribute to soldiers and freedom fighters, we also recognise a different breed of warriors, the ones who battle it out in arenas and on pitches.

Pitches and Patriots

Pitches and Patriots

Of the countless Arjuna Awardees, Hockey boasts of the longest list.  Prithipal Singh, Sunita Puri, Mohinder Lal, Jagbir Singh, Ashok Kumar, R Saini, Capt. Harcharan Singh, Mervyn Fernandes, Surinder Singh Sodi, Balbir Singh Kullar, Mamta Kharab, Devesh Chauhan, Viren Rasquinha, Innocent Helen Mary, Rajpal Singh, Saba Anjum Karim and their teams have brought home medals, honour and pride over the part 6 decades. It is a pity that the viewership for the sport is dwindling, considering that they have consistently won, if not gold, at least bronze, at different levels of the competition, the most recent being the Commonwealth Games ( Glasgow) silver medal.

Accomplished Archers Shyam Lal, Jayatha Talukdar, Deepika Kumari, Chekrovolu Sworu ; Athletes Gurbachan Singh Randhawa, Edward Sequeira, P.T. Usha, Asha Agarwal, Suman Rawat, Ashwini Nachappa, Milkha Singh, Malathi Krishnamurthy Holla (para Athlete), Anju Bobby George, Amit Kumar Saroha ; Badminton stars Prakash Padukone, Syed Modi, Saina Nehwal, Chetan Anand, Jwala Gutta, P. Kashyap, P.V. Sindhu ; Basketball players Hanuman Singh, S.K. Kataria; Chess Grandmaster Vishwanathan Anand; Billiards and Snooker player Pankaj Advani ; Boxers Mary Kom, Jai Pal Singh, Vijender Kumar, Vikas Krishnan, Kavita Chahal; Golfer Jeev Milkha Singh; Ace Marksmen Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang and innumerable others in sports like Carrom, Football, Gymnastics, Cycling, Judo, Kabbadi, Wrestling, Tennis, Polo and Swimming have brought glory to the country in their time and deserve a special thought on this day.

Who can forget the ‘Boys in Blue’? If anything, most India- Pakistan matches spark more nationalistic fervour than Independence day, Republic Day and Gandhi Jayanthi put together. Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Gundappa Vishwanath, Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly, Mahendra Singh Dhoni,  Virat Kohli,  Sandhya Agarwal, Anjum Chopra and Anju Jain have shaped a cricketing legacy that will remain in the public memory for time to come.

Sport transcends boundaries of regions and states, language, religion, colour and creed. In bringing the country together to celebrate and revel in victories or in uniting them in disappointment over a loss, Sport is an embodiment of India as a country – Unity in diversity. To all those sporting heroes who have fought the country’s battles on different turfs, Jai Hind!

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