Prestigious Obaidullah Khan Heritage Cup Gets Underway in Bhopal
The Obaidullah Khan Gold Cup has a rich legacy – it used to be touted among the reputed domestic hockey tournaments of the country alongside the likes of Beighton Cup, Aga Khan Gold Cup, All-India MCC-Murugappa Gold Cup, and Senior Nehru Tournament. This prestigious hockey tournament was first held in 1931 and used to be held at the Aishbagh Hockey Stadium in Bhopal. But the Obaidullah Khan Gold Cup could not held annually and had intermittent breaks. The Obaidullah Khan Gold Cup has played its part in churning out many international players, who have done the country proud. This tourney has produced as many as eight Olympians from Madhya Pradesh – Ahmed Sher Khan, Ehsan Mohammed, Latif-ur-Rehman, Akhtar Hussain, Inam-ur-Rehman, Aslam Sher Khan, Syed Jalaluddin Rizwi and Samir Dad – and in all 37 international players.
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Given this context, the holding of the 2022 Obaidullah Khan Heritage Cup Hockey Tournament at Bhopal assumed significance as it is being held after a hiatus of six years – the last time it was held in the year 2016 when BPCL had emerged triumphant putting it across Railways 3-0 in a shootout after both teams were locked 1-1 in regulation time. As many as twelve teams are taking part in the 2022 Obaidullah Khan Heritage Cup Hockey Tournament. This time around the tourney is being held for the first time at Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in Bhopal as the renovation work is going on at the Aishbagh Hockey Stadium. Army is fielding two teams – Army XI and Army Green.
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2016 runners-up Railways are placed in Pool A alongside Punjab Police and Madhya Pradesh Hockey. Senior Nehru Tournament Semifinalist Indian Navy are pitted in Pool B alongside Central Secratariat and Army XI. Madhya Pradesh Hockey Academy, GST Hockey, Chennai, and Army Green are placed in Pool C, while formidable Indian Oil, Punjab & Sind Bank, and CAG are placed in Pool D.
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The tournament is being organised by Department of Sports and Youth Welfare. The organisers have lined up attractive prize money – the winner and the runners-up will be richer by Rs 11 lakh and Rs 7 lakh respectively. The 3rd and 4th placed teams will received a purse of Rs 3 lakh and Rs 1.5 lakh respectively.
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There are a host of individual prizes as well. The Player of the Match during the league stage will receive a cash prize of Rs 5,000, while the Player of the Match in the knockout phase (semifinals, final) will receive a cash prize of Rs 10,000. A cash award of Rs 10,000 each will be handed out to the Player of the Tournament, Best Goalkeeper, Best Deep Defender, Best Midfielder, and Best Forward.
The opening function of the 2022 Obaidullah Khan Heritage Cup Hockey Tournament was graced by Madhya Pradesh Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan as Chief Guest.