Mussoorie schools – the breeding ground of Olympic hockey champions

mussoorie schools hockey champions
Indian Hockey team at 1932 Olympics

Anmol Jain

MUSSOORIE: In the recently concluded Olympics at Rio we barely managed to get 2 medals while our hockey team, which despite putting up a much improved performance from the previous Olympics, still ended on eight position. While it seems that a nation of 1.25 billion is struggling to produce Olympic champions but let’s take inspiration from the fact that a small town like Mussoorie had nurtured 10 hockey gold medallists during the period 1928 to 1936!

In the golden era of India hockey, when Major Dhyan Chand was playing for India, Indian hockey was largely dominated by players who had studied in Mussoorie schools. In fact the first Indian Olympic hockey team of 1928 had 6 players, 1932 team 5 players and 1936 Olympic team had 4 players who had studied in Mussoorie.

According to Brother J.C. Carroll, former principal and presently Brother Superior at St. George’s College a total of 7 alumni of the school were part of gold medal winning Indian hockey teams.

St. Georges College, Mussoorie
St. Georges College, Mussoorie

These were George Marthins (1928), Maurice A. Gateley (1928), William James Goodsir Cullen (1928), Carlyle Carroll Tapsell (1932 to 1936), Ernest John Goodsir Cullen (1936) and Lionel C. Emmett (1936)

Brother Carroll also informs that N. Nugent was another product of St. George’s who studied here prior to Independence and later became part of bronze medal winning team of Great Britain at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

The alumnus of Oak Grove School from Mussoorie included Richard James Allen (1928 to 1936) Eric Pinniger (1928 to 1932), Leslie Charles Hammond (1928 to 1932) and Richard John Carr (1932).

Oak Grove School. Mussoorie
Oak Grove School. Mussoorie

Amongst the players from Mussoorie, Richard James Allen has the unique distinction of being a triple gold medalist in Indian hockey. He was a terrific goalkeeper who conceded only 3 goals in the three Olympics that he played!

Eric Pinniger was once regarded as one of the best centre half. He was also the vice-captain of the 1928 team and went on to lead the team in the Olympic finals.

Marthins, who played as a left or right winger, formed a formidable combination with Dhyan Chand during 1928 olympics. Gateley, Emmett and Carr were also forwards. Tapsell and Hammond were both defenders and played two Olympics each.

The four school houses in St. George’s College are named after Marthin, Cullen, Gateley and Tapsell to honour these illustrious pupilsm and great stalwarts of Indian hockey.

When asked about the current status of hockey in the country Brother Carroll believes that much of the media attention is on cricket in our country and hence most youngsters aspire to become cricketers.

 

MUSSOORIE STALWARTS IN OLYMPIC HOCKEY TEAMS

Amsterdam Olympics – 1928

R.J. Allen – Oak Grove

Eric Pinniger – Oak Grove

L.C. Hammond – Oak Grove

George Marthins – St. George’s College

M.A. Gateley – St. George’s College

W.J. G. Cullen – St. George’s College

Los Angeles Olympics – 1932

R.J. Allen – Oak Grove

Eric Pinniger – Oak Grove

L.C. Hammond – Oak Grove

R.J. Carr – Oak Grove

C.C. Tapsell – St. George’s College

Berlin Olympics – 1936

R.J. Allen – Oak Grove

C.C. Tapsell – St. George’s College

E.J.G. Cullen – St. George’s College

Lionel C. Emmett – St. George’s College

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