Thousands watch scintillating hockey, BPCL wins Obaidullah Khan cup tournament
Shams Ur Rehman Alavi
BHOPAL: The atmosphere was electrifying. Thousands of hockey lovers in the jam-packed Aishbagh stadium, watching the final of Obaidullah Khan Heritage Cup Hockey Tournament.
In the match played under flood-lights, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) defeated Railways to clinch India's most prized tourney.
The historic tournament has a prize money of Rs 1 crore. The winner gets Rs 51 lakh. It was scintillating hockey, however, the teams were 1-1 till the end as Amit Rohidas and Tushar Khandekar had scored goals from Railway Sports Promotion Board and BPCL respecitvely.
As the score remained levelled, the decision came by penalty shoot-out. BPCL won 3-0. Lalit Upadhyay, Samir Khan and Virendra Lakra scored goals in the penalty shoot. In a city known for its love for hockey, almost everyone headed for Aishbagh stadium, as dusk fell, even during the earlier matches.
In the final, it was totally a different atmosphere. Everyone was charged up. The spectators praised the players whole-heartedly for their hockey skills. The runners-up Railways got Rs 21 lakh. Air India, which came third, got 11 lakh.
Sports minister Yashodhara Raje gave away the trophy and the cheque to the winner. Besides, awards were given to the best defender Manpreet Singh, best forward Affan Yusuf and best goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh among others.
Twelve teams participated in the tournament. Sixteen matches were played while 75 goals were scored during the tournament.
Hockey India Dr Narinder Batra said that Hockey India would extent all possible support to ensure that hockey gets promotion in MP. Director, Sports.
Hockey officials were more than happy with the huge turnout of spectators in Bhopal.
Bhopal is known as a nursery of hockey. It has produced scores of international and national players including many Olympians. The successful event and the huge turnout once again proved that Bhopal is the city where hockey can be revived, if government is serious about it.