|Saturday, November 24, 2001||
KINGLY patronage to sports may belong to an era long forgotten but this legacy can still be savoured at the National Institute of Sports (NIS) Museum at Patiala which has the distinction of being the only sports museum in the country.
Contributions from the royal family of Patiala along with rare photographs and personal artefacts belonging to elite sportspersons, including hockey wizard Dhyan Chand, Flying Sikh Milkha Singh, that are kept in the museum make it a Mecca of sorts for the average sports lover.
Of special interest are
the Adidas spikes worn by Milkha Singh in the 1960 Rome Olympics
quarter-mile event which he lost by a fraction of a second, Major Dhyan
Chand`s gold medal which he won at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, the hass
— a doughnut shaped exercising apparatus weighing a solid 95 kgs —
belonging to the legendry Gama Pehalwan who used it for squats, shoes
which PTUsha wore during her 1986 Seoul Asiad win and an autographed
silver bat presented to Maharaja Bhupinder Singh, the erstwhile ruler of
Patiala in 1925 by members of the Elphinstone College ,Bombay and the
BB&CIRailway cricket teams in appreciation of His Highness’s
hospitality and patronage to cricket.
The second is a water jug with a metal top depicting a cricket game in progress which has been etched on its body made of transparent glass. The third ia a framed photograph of the first MCC cricket team with the captain, the Maharaja, in the centre flanked by individual photographs of the players. An interesting anecdote recounts the connection between cricket and the origin of the famous Patiala Peg. On the arrival of a visiting team which was considered to be stonger than the Maharaja`s team, the local team devised a stategy to defeat their opponents. During a dinner hosted by the Royal team, the visitors were served extra-large measures of liquor . The hosts convinced their guests that the large measure was indeed the norm in the region and was called the Patiala Peg. The visiting team lost the following day as a result of drowsiness from the Patiala Peg.
Occupying a place of pride in the museum is the bat autographed by the Indian cricket team captained by Kapil Dev which won the Prudential World Cup in 1983. Apart from these there are rare black and white photographs of the 1908 Olympics. Also on display is a photograph of one of the finest Polo players in the world — General Chanda Singh — on his horse, Miss Haig, in England in1909. A photograph of The Tigers Polo team, which won the King`s Coronation Cup held at Ranelagh in 1923, is also a part of the museum`s rare collection.
Apart from various medals, trophies and
other souvenirs related to various national and international
competitions, the museum also displays the replicas of various national
sports awards such as the Arjuna Award, the Dronacharya Award and the
Padam Shri Award. With the museum housing the most precious sports
artefacts of the nation, it remains a must see for every sports fan. — Photos by Subhash Patialvi