The initial endeavor of truly lived up to the expectations – the conference room in Christ University on June 16th, was thronged by the sports enthusiasts across the city. Right from management students, professors, entrepreneurs and sport entrepreneurs, employee/employer of sport institutes, athletic coaches, and several sports fanatics came to the venue to listen to the Olympic experience from hockey stalwarts Jude Felix and Arjun Halappa.
Arjun Halappa. Pic: Naveen Ningaiah
The event started with a presentation from Switch Hit Sports, a sports management company that provides a professional platform for sports and sportspersons to flourish by encouraging grass-root level sports. He spoke on topics like managing sports personalities in India, future targets in sports management, and so on.
Two-time Olympian (1988 and 1992), Jude Felix stressed that it is nice to have an ‘Olympian-tag’ and how lucky he had been to represent his country. He also highlighted the pain that he (and his team) went through after losing to England and eventually losing out in the semi-finals.
The 1992 Olympics happened to be filled with bitter-sweet memories. The team had an exceptional build-up to the main event and they remained unbeaten in several matches. The whole world started talking about India’s resurgence in field hockey and suddenly India became a medal contender. However, India ‘peaked’ a little early, lost crucial matches, and ended their campaign in seventh position!
It was then turn for the 2004 Olympian, the proud Kodava, midfield maestro, Arjun Halappa, emphasising a tough preparatory camp at the US. This was followed by an account of some controversial moments in the National team – exclusion of two key players from the team and hiring new coach. Halappa took us through anxious moments in a crucial match against Australia, where miscommunication from team members buried India’s hope to making it to the semis.
The event also showcased two organisations – PACE Scholarships from GoSports Foundation, meant for the talented athletes training for Olympics and Para-Olympics and Jude Felix Hockey Academy (JFHA), a non-profit organisation and registered charitable trust, working towards promoting hockey among under-privileged children.