Saturday was a day to neglect for the Class of 1980, the bunch that took India to the summit of world hockey on the Moscow Olympics – the final time the nation loved such success.
Ravindra Pal Singh, 60, within the morning and Maharaj Krishan Kaushik, 66, within the night succumbed to the Covid-19-related illnesses on the identical day.
Kaushik, a right-out, handed away within the nationwide capital after a three-week battle with the virus and leaves behind a legacy full of success and recognition on the hockey turf, each as participant and coach.
Hockey lovers of more moderen classic might recall Kaushik as a former coach of the nationwide girls’s staff, who guided the unfancied bunch to the 2002 Commonwealth Games gold medal, which was one of the inspirations for the hit film Chak de India. But Kaushik had additionally taken the boys’s staff to the highest of the rostrum on the 1998 Bangkok Asiad, the primary time they’d been there in 32 years.
Add to it, the final word success as a participant at Moscow 1980 – he scored three objectives, together with one within the last in opposition to Spain – and one can safely say that there was little or no in hockey that Kaushik didn’t obtain.
But Kaushik’s teaching profession additionally had its share of ups and downs. Soon after the triumph in Bangkok, he was sacked by the erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation, an episode he describes within the ebook The Golden Boot.
The Arjuna and Dronacharya awardee was the assistant coach of the staff that gained gold on the 2014 Incheon Asian Games (Australian Terry Walsh was chief coach), 16 years after he had guided the staff to glory as head coach.
Silent however efficient
Ravinder Pal Singh, centre half, might not be the primary identify that involves thoughts when one recollects the hockey gold medallists from the 1980 Moscow Olympics, however discuss to his teammates and one will get the image of a swish and classy midfielder who did his work silently and effectively.
Singh, who succumbed to Covid-19 in Lucknow on Saturday after combating the virus for 2 weeks, was a product of Uttar Pradesh Sports Hostel, Lucknow and Vasudevan Baskaran, the captain on the Moscow Games, remembers him as a participant with good expertise and adept at each the defensive and attacking facets of the sport.
“He played as a centre-half – the successor in that position to Ajitpal Singh. Ravinder was, thus, stepping into big shoes. But he matched Ajitpal in every inch,” Baskaran informed The Indian Express.
“He possessed all the skills. But what caught my eye was the graceful nature of his game and he had a big contribution to our success. He was quick in attack and gelled perfectly with the players around his position – like myself (left half), MM Somaya (right half), Mohammed Shahid (inside left) and Merwyn Fernandes (inside right).”
Another teammate from the victorious squad, Zafar Iqbal remembers Singh as a “very good player” and “dependable defender”.
“We played a lot together. He was a very stylish player without being showy. One can describe him as a player from the old school. Apart from his defensive skills, his ball distribution to forwards was exemplary and very accurate,” the previous disregarded informed this paper.
Singh was additionally half of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics squad and several other different elite-level tournaments, however his erstwhile teammates recall a person who largely saved to himself as he grew older.
“He was a very simple man and would be on the turf even on Sundays,” Baskaran mentioned.
Zafar alluded to a change in Singh after his taking part in days.
“He was fun to be with when we were in the team. But he remained a bachelor and turned into a private and introverted person. He became somewhat of a loner, but always a very down-to-earth man.”