Bhopal: Once a hockey hub, now in wait for the revival of the sport

August 26, 2021

Giving magnificent players like Ahmad Sher Khan, Inam-ur-Rahman, Syed Jalaluddin Rizvi and Sameer Dad, Bhopal has now been deserted of hockey players for the past two decades. 

The recently concluded Tokyo Olympics have brought back the glory to the sport with India winning the Bronze against Belgium 4-3. But with no players from the central state in the team, the hope for Bhopal to revive the lost glory is on hold.

City stars, Inam, Syed and Sameer, represented the country at the Olympics post-independence. While Ahmad Khan was one of those players who played along with hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand

But in the past two decades, the city has scarcely produced a handful of hockey players like Mohammed Umar, who represented India at the Junior Men’s Asia Cup, 2015 and won Gold, Affan Yousuf (Asian Champions Trophy, 2016, gold) and goalkeeper Khushboo Khan, playing for junior women’s team. 

Once known for producing great players, Aishbagh, the oldest and the only Hockey Stadium in the city, has been waiting for revival for so long now. The work, however, has been a bone of contention between the Sports Department and the Municipal Corporation and hence is in abeyance.

“Inspired by India’s recent advancement at the Tokyo Olympics, many children have started practising at the Aishbagh Stadium, which is located in the centre of the city and is free of cost,” said Dad, who’s recently made the coach of Madhya Pradesh hockey team, as quoted by The Quint.

The fondness on display by the famed player and the inclination of the teenagers towards the sport depicts that Bhopal is trying hard to revive the legacy. But renaissance won’t be easy for the city, yet, Dad is all devoted to doing whatever he can. 

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