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SAS 2017: When India won the first Azlan crown (4/27/2017)
--K. Arumugam
Chief Coach Jhamanlal Sharma is no more, so also captain Mohammad Shahid. But the feat the two big names in Uttar Pradesh hockey created in 1985 evokes emotion and entails reminiscence. When their crack team won the Second Raja Azlan Shah Invitation Tournament, as present day’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup was known then, in the last outing of the year, it came after a five year long gloom that almost put a question mark over the survival of Indian hockey.

undefined Since won the Moscow Olympics, India took part in every tournament that the world saw till Dec 1985, including Olympics, World Cup, Champions Trophy, Asian Games, Asia Cup and what not, but could not lift any crown, giving fodder to perennial pessimists in the sub-continent.

On December 3, 1985. A brief relief.

India showed symptoms of revival. Won the Azlan Cup comprehensively beating home side Malaysia. The scoreline of the final match stood as 4-2. It was sweet revenge against the host who defeated them in the earlier edition in the opening match.

But they were an exhausted side in the final in 1985.

Perhaps, they were all drained out as they would play a non-stop 100 minutes of hockey a day early before moved into tie-break to emerge winner against Spain in the semis.

By showing the doors to Spain, the hosts also did a favour to India.

India lost to Spain in the opener. Spain could repeat the Moscow form (3-4 final score) but with a win in Ipoh. It was prevented from the final entry by the crueling 100-minutes energy sapper of game.

India went on to outplay Malaysia in the final, Mohammad Shahid weaving cobweb around Malaysian forwards.

The captain breathed his last last year.

What about the other Ipoh achievers?

Winger Jalalludin Rizwi is top official in State Bank of India.

Another winger Thoiba Singh is at present Selector, doing his work in Bengaluru Sub-Junior Nationals.

Tikken Singh and Neelkamal Singh lives happily in Manipur

Centre-forwards Mohd Naeem and Balwinder Singh continue in Indian Railways.

Joaquim Carvalho lives in Mumbai, challenges present Bombay Hockey Association in electoral battle.

undefined MM Somaya is a top official in Bharat Petroleum Ltd

Mohinder Pal Singh, the defender, enjoys golf, gets accolades in Corporate Gulf tournaments.

Jude Felix, among other things, runs a hockey academy in an orphan school in Bengaluru, till recently was with the Senior National team.

Abdul Aziz is another of Railways stalwart, posted at Jhansi, Uttar Pradesh.

Pargat Singh dabbles in politics successfully, retained his MLA seat from Jalandhar cantonment in the Punjab State Assembly election recently.

India went on to win the Azlan crown thrice more, each having its own significance. We will deal those in the coming days, as the 26th edition will unfurl in a couple of days.

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