Two decades on, a glorious comeback

The team represented the Khelo Master Games Association, India, at the 17th Australian Masters hockey

The team represented the Khelo Master Games Association, India, at the 17th Australian Masters hockey  

Veterans’ team emerges runners-up in Australian hockey tournament

After nearly two decades, Rekha Janardhan decided to pick up the hockey stick once again, to lead her 15-member women’s team at the 17th Australian Masters hockey tournament held early this month. The team emerged runners-up in the tournament.

Ms. Rekha and 14 other team members — comprising housewives, police personnel and teachers — all former Tamil Nadu players, represented the Khelo Master Games Association, India, in the tournament, that took place in Adelaide between October 5 and 12. In the finals, they lost to Turf Queens from South Australia.

“After marriage, many of them had stopped playing the game,” said Ms. Rekha.

Last year, during an informal meet-up, the team came together and played their first masters national tournament in Dehradun in January. The next month, they represented the country at the European Masters games and won the bronze medal.

“The finals, against the Australian team, ended in a 2-2 draw initially. However, they won the tournament by scoring the penalty shootouts,” said Lavanya Balaji, a member.

Though families of many of them encouraged them to participate, the only concern was sponsorship.

They had to spend ₹2 lakh each to attend the tournament. Many even had to take loans to fend for their expenses.

“My colleagues pooled in ₹1 lakh. K. Prabakar, Deputy Commissioner, St Thomas Mount, gifted me a hockey stick,” said V. Thenmozhi, woman head constable, Shankar Nagar police station. Another police officer in the team was Thilagam Karthik, inspector, State Crime Records Bureau.

“Olympian Adam Antony Sinclair helped us with some kits and t-shirts. Hockey, especially the women’s team, is not given due importance. We too can win laurels for the country, as we have shown,” Ms. Rekha said.

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Printable version | Feb 26, 2020 5:30:59 PM |

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