It was a fitting tribute to someone who championed the cause of hockey for close to three decades. Well, when Royal Hockey Club (BHEL), formed in 1976, organised a one-day tournament in memory of P. Kantaiah, former secretary of Hyderabad Hockey Association last week at BHEL Community Centre Grounds, what was more important was not the number of teams played or who emerged winner. It was just serving a gentle reminder to the hockey fraternity of an official who used to traverse the distance to the city to promote the game in a big way.
Kantaiah, who passed away two years ago, was one of the founder-members of the Royal Club which used to also organise the Royal Cup invitation tournaments in the past with great passion. That the cream of hockey players made it a point to compete in this event was also a tribute to the efficacy of late Kantaiah in hosting tournaments with ease.
In fact, the former HHA secretary was also the manager of the Indian hockey team on a quite few occasions and the Royal Club is only an extension of his passion for the sport which he loved so much.
M. Raghunandan Reddy, secretary of Royal Club, reminds that the whole objective of hosting these tournaments is to continue the good work done by the last administrator. “This year we will organise inter-schools tournament besides many coaching camps thanks to the support of the BHEL management,” he said. Last year to mark the first anniversary, Royal Club organised the Inter-district championship for seniors with the DGP and president of HHA V. Dinesh Reddy gracing the valedictory function. For the record, the Kantaiah Memorial Invitation Tournament featured 10 teams defying the scorching heat but clearly enjoying the opportunity at a time when hockey events have become a scarcity.
The teams which made it to the semi-finals included the host Royal Club, Young Turks, Elia XI and Nav Bharath. In the final, Elia XI defeated Young Turks XI. Nav Bharath Club was placed third. R. K. Wanchoo gave away the prizes.