MUMBAI: Tata Steel celebrated the National Sports Day 2020 in a special way by organising a virtual panel discussion with hockey legends and Olympians. National Sports Day is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of hockey star Dhyan Chand, who won three Gold medals in Olympics for India in 1928, 1932, and 1936.
Olympians Gurbux Singh, Ashok Kumar, Dr Vece Paes, Dilip Tirkey, and Leander Paes, along with Tata Steel's chief of Protocol and Sports, Farzan Heerjee, participated in this virtual event.
The event was conceptualised and moderated by Rajiv Seth, Project director, Naval Tata Hockey Academy, Odisha along with co-host Diksha Tiwari. They discussed their sports journey, challenges and contribution of Dorabji Tata in paving the way for India’s sporting journey.
Dorabji Tata, the founding chairman of Tata Steel, was a deeply committed patron of professional sports and his contribution to this field has been immense. While Major Dhyan Chand was making strides in hockey at the world stage, Tata was making immense contributions to nation building through industrial revolution and the Indian Olympic movement. Taking Tata’s legacy further, Tata Steel has always believed in creating the right platforms and infrastructure to encourage sports talent across various fields of sports.
While remembering the great legend, Major Dhyan Chand, one of his famous statements about the game was remembered - "Hockey is game of skill. To play it well is an art itself. It calls for intelligence, keen eyes, powerful wrists, physical fitness, and speed of mind and body." He believed the game calls for great sportsmanship, tolerance and coolness.
Gurbux Singh, Hockey Olympian, said: “Tatas have been known to contribute towards building our nation and bring about the culture of sports in general. Their contribution to hockey as a sport has been immense through the leadership of Sir Dorabji Tata, who has pioneered Indian Olympic movement in pre-independence times. The culture has only grown over the years and I congratulate the leadership on this day to also organise this event in memory of Major Dhyan Chand. I am very delighted to know the investment in the sport being done in the State of Odisha with Naval Tata Hockey Academy is commendable and I am confident the nation will see some of its finest players come from this State. I convey my best wishes for the future.”
Ashok Kumar, Hockey Olympian, and son of the Indian hockey legend, Major Dhyan Chand, said: “Major Dhyan Chand left a legacy of lessons for not just hockey players but for all sportsmen in our country. In spite of his personal struggles, he never allowed them to be an excuse to not perform. He was committed to the sport and inspired many during his lifetime. I am truly glad today Tata Steel is creating such platforms for budding players and opportunities for new talent to shine.”
Tennis player and Padma Shri Leander Peas, along with his father Dr Vece Paes, joined this virtual meet and said: “As a child, I was inspired and motivated by these very set of sportsmen. Gurbux Singh and Ashok Kumar were my father’s team mates and were my heroes. I am thankful to each of them to provide me with your valuable guidance and the encouragement. I applaud the work Tata Steel is doing in the various fields of sports especially in Hockey and wish them great success in the future.”
Leander Paes’ Father, Vece Paes, a Hockey Olympian (1972), passionately narrated a story on how when he was heading towards East from Western India to relocate base in his playing days, all that he heard was Tata’s presence and its legacy all along.
Encouragement and support for Sports at Tata Steel dates back nearly a century, and is part of its culture. Tata Steel has been one of the foremost corporate promoters of Indian sports - having built academies for football, archery, athletics, hockey and sport climbing. It was a tradition started by the Company’s first chairman Sir Dorabji Tata, who financed India’s first Olympic team to Antwerp, Belgium in 1920. Tata Steel later established the Jamshedpur Athletic Club in 1927, and started sports competitions for working women and children.
Farzan Heerjee, chief (Protocol and Sports), Tata Steel, said: “Jamshedpur is known as Steel City, Green City and Clean City. With so many sporting activities and sports excellence centres, now, Jamshedpur is also known as the Sporting City. ‘Sport is a way of life’ at Tata Steel and Jamshedpur. Tata Group has been supporting the sporting activities for over a century now and we at Tata Steel will continue to pursue the legacy of Sports.”
“Our ventures outside Jamshedpur like NTHA Odisha has also displayed our intent to nurture national talent while remaining focused on the immense talent that the State of Odisha offers to Hockey,” Farzan Heerjee further added.
Remembering Dorabji Tata’s contribution towards the sports, Heerjee said that Tata is known as the ‘architect of Jamshedpur,’ wherein the city has been modelled on lines of his father JN Tata’s vision of providing quality life to the employees.