The world of hockey has played host to some incredibly characters and amazing players. Here’s a list of seven incredible hockey players from over nearly 100 years.
Dhanraj Pillay started playing hockey with old, broken sticks and hockey balls that were lost and abandoned. It was Pillay’s mother who insisted that he and his four brothers all played hockey, even though they couldn’t afford any new equipment. This insistence drove the player to a series of notable achievements, among which includes India’s highly acclaimed Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award for 1999.
Manzoor Hussain Jnr
Pakistan’s Manzoor Hussain Jnr became a key figure in international hockey between the mid seventies and eighties. His prowess on the field earned him 86 goals as well as being capped 175 times during this time. Hussain also won Olympic medals too, with a bronze then a gold in 1976 and 1984 respectively.
Hailing from Brisbane, Australia, Dwyer had a love of cricket but hockey took over for its faster pace. He has won the title of world’s best hockey player five times between 2004 and 2011. While Dwyer is well known in Australia, his fame is a little more low-key in the Netherlands where he plays today.
Dutch player Carina Benninga has played an incredible number of games during the highpoint of her career during the 1980s. Winning 25 goals in 158 international games, Carina Benninga has had an exceptional experience of the game, also winning bronze at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, gold medals in the Eurohockey Nations Championship, Champions Trophy and the Women’s Hockey World Cup.
Called the “Ronaldinho of hockey”, Pol Amat has been a stand out player for Spain’s international team. Using his Grays hockey stick, a brand that endorses the player, his ability to score goals seems truly remarkable. There have been many plaudits handed to Amat, including Olympic silver, but one of his biggest achievements was winning World Hockey Player Of The Year in 2008.
Few sportsmen and women have as long a career as field hockey player Beth Anders. Beginning her hockey career in 1969, Anders continued to play well into the 1980s, winning Olympic medals and Sportwoman of the Year awards in that time. The athlete took on a career in hockey coaching, and before retiring, had coached teams to almost 500 wins in collegiate matches.
Major Dhyan Chand
Cited as the greatest hockey player of all time, Dhyan Chand has become such a legendary character, stories of his sporting life have become something akin to mythology. It’s said that Dutch adjudicators once broke his hockey stick, believing there to be magnets inside as his control was so good. One tale tells of a challenge by a lady in the audience suggesting he play with a walking stick instead. He did, barely hampering his performance.
During his career, Major Chand won countless awards, and continued to play until 1948, then 43 years old, and still managed to score his side’s only goal. His name lives on, in such monuments as the Dhayan Chand National Stadium in Delhi and the Dhyan Chand Award. This award is given to retired sportsmen and women who continue to contribute to sport, much in the spirit of this sporting hero.
Author: Peter Shorney is an artist, copywriter and blogger. Read more at Peter’s Google+ page and on comedyhuman.com