GG News Bureau
Dehradun, 21st July. With the greatest sporting event of the world Olympics taking off at Tokyo, THE Indian team is all geared up to bring a rich haul of medals this year. Uttarakhand also is contributing to the sporting movement as Gurmeet Singh the most respected race walker turned Olympic coach from Udham Singh Nagar will be a part of the contingent of the Tokyo Olympics. His students Priyanka Goswami from Uttar Pradesh and Sandeep Kumar from Haryana will be competing in the race-walking event in the Olympics. The ace pistol shooter and Commonwealth Gold winner from Uttarakhand is also part of the contingent and will be guiding the shooters In Tokyo. But the contribution by the state in the Olympics does not stop here as it has the rich legacy of sending several sport people in the Olympics in past.
More than half a dozen students from Schools in Mussoorie have brought laurel to the country by representing India in Olympics.
From St. George’s College seven students made it to Olympics namely two brothers Earnest and William Goodsir-Cullen, George Eric Marthins, Michael Gately, Lionel Emmett, Carlyle Carrol Tapsell and N Nugent who was the member of 1943 A team in Hockey.
Ernest represented India in the 1936 Olympics and playing as half back won the gold medal for the team. His older brother William Cullen also won a gold medal at the 1928 Amsterdam Summer Olympics. Carlyle Tapsell, scored a goal each in the final against Germany and the semifinal against France, besides shooting two goals earlier in the tournament. The school has named its school Houses after these Olympians.
Lionel Charles R. Emmett represented the country in the 1936 Summer Olympics and played one match as forward also. George Eric McCarthy Marthins (December 24, 1905, to March 1989) participated in 1928 Summer Olympics as a member of the Indian field hockey team, which won gold medals. Michael Anthony Gateley (born on June 13, 1904) was an Indian field hockey player who competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics and won the gold medal for the country.
Another School Oak Grove managed by the Indian Northern Railway Mussoorie, also boasts of four hockey players, namely Broome Eric Pinniger (1928 to 1932), Leslie Charles Hammond (1928 to 1932), Richard James Allen (1928 to 1936) and Richard John Carr (1932) who represented the country in the Olympics.
Eric Pinniger born on December 28, 1902, at Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh was known as world’s best centre-half before the World War-II and represented 1928 Olympics as vice-captain of Indian Olympics team.
Leslie Hammond, another former student of Oak Grove School, a defender who played in the 1928 Olympics. He played three of the five matches in the Amsterdam Games as part of defence without conceding even a goal in the tournament. He again represented India in the 1932 Olympics.
Richard John Carr, born on January 21, 1911, who competed in the 1932 Summer Olympics and played one match as forward and scored one goal. He played as left or right winger alongside Major Dhyan Chand, the wizard of hockey, in the 1932 Olympics that won Gold.
Another former Oak Grovian Richard Allen was a goalkeeper par excellence and he represented India in three consecutive Olympics. In 10 matches he conceded only two goals of which one was scored in the 1932 Olympics while he was busy signing autographs. The match with 24-1 victory to India is registered in the Guinness Books of World Record.
Wynberg Allen School also had its share of contribution to the Olympics movement.
Elizabeth Davenport, a former student of Wynberg Allen School, represented India at the Asian Games at Tokyo and at the Commonwealth Games at Cardiff. In 1960, she broke the Asian Women’s javelin throw record and she was selected for Rome Olympics due to her stupendous performance.
Kurien Arackle the Librarian at the school said,” Our Physical instructor Mr Champa reminiscing her stay informed that she held the school record of 78 ft for javelin throw in 1952 and she set an inter-school record of 87 ft in 1953.
However not many have since then made it to the Olympics or excelled in the sports from Mussoorie.
Surat Rawat a member of Sports association in Mussoorie said that the main reason for disinterest towards sports of the local population is lack of sporting infrastructure in the town.
He reminisced that the town had a sporting culture with its own school Olympics held every year at Wynberg Allen school where all the schools converged to compete with each other, but when the sporting event was stopped due to various reasons the sports activities took a back seat in the town. It is sad that a town that boasts of several Olympians is unable to produce more Olympians due to lack of sporting infrastructure, he added.
Surat Rawat said, a multipurpose sports stadium has been proposed at Bhilaru in Mussoorie for which Rs 32 Crores were released by the government but due to the lackadaisical attitude of the government no action has been initiated. The government is of the view that as the land falls in wildlife sanctuary area not much can be done. Children have no place to practice and train in the town hence the interest towards sports has waned over the years in the town said Surat Rawat. He said that if the government does begin the work of the construction soon then the sporting fraternity of the town will be left with no option but to launch a massive protest.