KDHA all out to improve hockey in Kandy | Daily News

KDHA all out to improve hockey in Kandy

The Kandy District Hockey Association (KDHA) is making efforts to make the game a success. It has started working to have the league, knockouts, sevens and a six-a-side day and night domestic hockey structure for both men and women. Plans have been made, and COVID-19 is disturbing them. President of the KDHA, R. Mahewswaran and his able committee are now concentrating on improving the quality of domestic tournaments which will help the players in a big way. They have initiated preparations for the tournaments starting end of November. At one time being the top-ranked hockey association, Kandy officials are now learning the art of patient build-up. The hit and miss tactics of the past and the all-out counter-attacks are no longer preferred. The Kandy hockey committee has been regrouped. They are all-out to improve the game in all aspects. KDHA took decisions to give the best for the game. They have received excellent support from the committee to host the events. The KDHA celebrates 113 years of hockey in Kandy. Even at present Kandy plays same style of hockey. At present the spirit is good and every one believe that hockey will hit the top. But the main hindrance is Corona.

At the committee meeting held recently at the KMC indoor stadium, they decided to have a good and talented pool of players for the Nationals and for that they are working on club hockey for a year. Today in Kandy all boys and girls schools will be asked to assemble hockey teams for inter-school competitions. In the past, all boys and girls schools have produced hockey legends and they believe that school hockey like in the past can feed the national team. Kandy has helped the country unearth several young hockey talents and KDCA believes its endevours can reap similar rewards. KDHA will give the players an opportunity to play with different players and that will help boost their performance and confidence.

They have also decided that the standard of coaching will also be improved. More teams mean more professional coaches who have knowledge of the latest technologies and methods, KDHA have planned to organise courses to help with that. Proper infrastructure and system should be developed for players to improve the quality of the sport. So, Hockey is to be revived again in Kandy by the present hockey promoters. The main problem they face is lack of proper grounds any if the cant have it in Kandy they will conduct the tournament out of Kandy. With the Corona problem they are in an uncertainty to start. The committee comprises R. Maheswaran president, vice presidents - H. Marikar, P. Kumara, D. Herath, S. Dissanayake, G. G. Dharmaratne, secretary - M. A. M. Ashraf, assistant secretary - N. Paraneetharan, treasurer - A. B. Godigamuwa and Asstant Treasurer - R. T. R. Raheem. Hockey has a very good reputation as a clean and healthy sport contributes to social integration, taking place under good guidance, which makes it attractive to parents and schools for their children, pupils and also for club players.

A look back into Kandy hockey, St. Anthony’s College was perhaps the first to play the game in this Island as far back in 1907. It is said in 1907 when Fr. Philip Caspersz’s was the principal St. Anthony’s College was housed at the present St. Sylvester’s College premises. The Rajput Regiments that occupied the Kandy military barracks, the present police barracks did their sports at this ground. After seeing the Indians in action Kandy boys wanted to play hockey, almost every evening the boys of that era felt drawn to the game themselves, and off and on, tried their hand at knocking the ball with a borrowed stick or two. Soon few fearless youngsters found places vacant whenever the military lads did not turn up for the game. Gradually more boys found the glamour of the game irresistible, and in a matter of a few months local boys mastered the game but the Indians never yielded they were too superior. After Indians left Kandy the game was bequeathed to the Antonians and Kandy boys.

Few years later in 1909 the game was dead with the demise of a Antonian known as Charlie Hamilton, who was a little prodigy from SACK, who played as centre-half. This lionhearted midget had learned the game in the company of Indian stalwarts. That year, a team from Kandy travelled down to Colombo to play against Colombo Municipal Council and Bloomfield on 1st of November. The first match was drawn, each side scoring a goal, and the hero of these two games was Charlie Hamilton, whose play had evoked repeated rounds of applause. The anti-climax was that after the team returned from Colombo, Charlie got ill suddenly and died on November 5, 1909. The game then died a natural death. And somewhere in the 1930’s the game was revived by some of the keen followers of the game like late P.T.Rajan who was a teacher at Kingswood College, late V.D. Paul Raj of Kingswood, late J.O.Mendis also from Kingsdwood, late M.S. Jainudeen the doyen for the promotion of hockey in Kandy, KPMM Seyed Ahamed who gave a big hand to promote the game. Glancing through some old records, the first ‘Bully Off’ in Kandy between clubs was in 1907 at the Bogambara grounds, when the Kandy Sports Club and the Industrial School Team met. The leaders of these two pioneer clubs were Europeans, S.R. Hamer and R. Sparks. These two clubs played regularly and had opposition from the regiments stationed in Kandy. As years rolled by hockey flourished in Kandy with several schools in and around Kandy taking to the game. During World War II, a large number of clubs and schools, including foreign teams, played in Kandy.

It must be recalled that M.S.Jaiundeen as secretary of the Kandy District Hockey Association went all out to popularize the game in Kandy. Mention must be made of top players like Philip Bultjens, Bobby HJ.W. Jayaweera, Sam Elhart, E. Lionel Fernando, Robert Wright, P. Thngavelu, A.L. Perumal, G. Macky, Willie Marr, Peter Roberts, R. Harns, Freddie White the younger brother of Duncan White the Olympic medalist. Freddie at his peak was the country’s hockey goalkeeper and was rated as Asia’s best in that position, Derick Harvie, M.N.I. Bin Ismail. A.J.M. Yusuf M.E. Marikar, Roy de Silva, Paul Jeyaraj all were top players and promoters wise people like Rev. Fr. Robert M. Perera, SR Hamer, GH Robinson, K. de Lanerolle, Dr. VHL Anthonisz, George de Saram, Fr. Dom George, EL Fernando, P. Thangavelu, Georee Mant, Paul Jeyaraj ,Dr. A Samad Ismail, Dr.A.S. Athuraliya, Capt. R. Wijekoon, G. Ratnayake, Leslie Handunge, S. Rupasinghe, I.M Anver, Roy de Silva, Rohan Wijenayake, Malcom Perera, Hafiz Marikar, Lakshman Seneviratne (Rtd. DIG). M. Nadaraja, A.V.A. Pahtirane, Aroos Salimdeen, R. Maheswaran are some of the names came to my mind.