Hockey a game played between two teams of eleven players each on a plain grassy ground or an artificial turf with the help of a specially designed stick and a ball. In this game each team uses the stick to drive the ball with the aim of passing it through the opponents'; goal area and score thereby. This game is usually called field hockey that differentiates it from ice hockey. A hockey field is rectangular in shape and it measures 100 yards by 60 yards. The weight and circumference of a hockey ball is 53/4 ounces and 23.5 cm respectively.
Like football and cricket, hockey is also a very old and popular game. Opinions differ regarding the origin of hockey. It is, however, commonly believed that hockey originated in Greece about five thousand years ago. Drawings of hockey game can be seen in a three thousand years old Egyptian Pyramid. The idea of hockey can also be have from the game';s representation in a European mural painting of 1122 AD.
For modern times, credit goes to England for hockey';s full development. London';s Wimbledon Hockey Club founded in 1883 gave a definite modern standard to the game. The first international tournament of hockey was played in 1895 between England and Ireland. Hockey was included in the Olympic Games in 1908. In 1942, the Federation Internationale de Hockey was founded in Brussels. This is the highest controlling authority of the game. The first World Cup Hockey took place in 1958. Countries that are quite advanced in hockey include Pakistan, India, Australia, Holland, Germany, England, Korea, and Malaysia.
Hockey was introduced in Bengal during the British period. The game was introduced in Dhaka around 1905 under the patronage of Nawab Sir khwaja salimullah (1866-1915). But the game remained confined to the Nawabs'; family circle. At that time, football was more popular among the masses of this region. Despite this, the game made great progress due to untiring efforts of some sport patrons and organisers of theNawab Family. During the World War II, a team of the hockey wizard Dhyanchand, a member of the Gurkha Regiment, played an exhibition match in Dhaka.
With the Partition of Bengal in 1947, the hockey as a game received recession. Many of the people, who played and loved hockey before, migrated to India. The Nawab Family of Dhaka, which patronised the game, lost ability to support the game. As a result, hockey turned into a seasonal game.
During Pakistan period, the East Pakistan hockey team took part in a number of tournaments including All Pakistan National Hockey Championship. In 1969, Dhaka successfully hosted the final round of the Pakistan National Hockey Championship. Pakistan was Olympic and Asian Champion in hockey in 1970.
Bangladesh Hockey Federation was formed in 1972. The federation acquired full membership of the International Hockey Federation and of the Asian Hockey Federation in 1975. Since then the Federation regularly arranges hockey leagues, tournaments, and the National Youth and Senior Championships. At the home level, hockey matches include Dhaka Division Hockey League, Second Division Hockey League, National Hockey League, National Youth Hockey League, Independence Day Hockey Tournament, National Hockey Championship, National Youth Hockey Championship, Victory Day Hockey Tournament, and the School Tournaments. The Development Cup Hockey Tournament is organised every year in which all district teams participate.
Bangladesh started taking part in international hockey tournaments by participating in the Junior World Cup qualifying round in Kuala Lumpur in 1977. It took part in Asia Cup in 1989 and 1993. The country also played in the Asian Games held in Hiroshima in 1978. In 1985, Dhaka hosted the Second Asia Hockey Cup. India, Pakistan, Korea, Malaysia, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Iran and Bangladesh took part in this tournament. Bangladesh also hosted an international invitational hockey tournament in 1996 and the Prime Minister Gold Cup Hockey Tournament in 2001. Bangladesh hosted in 2003 the Second Under-16 Asia Cup Hockey (Male). In 1978, a hockey stadium was built in Dhaka, which is now known as the Maulana Bhasani Hockey Stadium. An artificial turf was set in playground in this stadium in 2002. Once again it was removed and set a new turf in 2006.
Various organisations, services, and clubs of Bangladesh play hockey. Among these organisations include Bangladesh Army, Navy, Air Force, BKSP, and the university of dhaka. Noted clubs playing hockey include Abahani Krirachakra, Mohammedan Sporting Club, Usha Krirachakra, Sonali Bank SRC, Sadharan Bima Krirachakra, Ajax Krirachakra, and Wari Club. [Gofran Faroqi] [Faroqi, Gofran Assistant Director, RPATC, New Eskaton, Dhaka]