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Posted at: Aug 6, 2016, 12:11 AM; last updated: Aug 6, 2016, 12:11 AM (IST)

Olympians from Mussoorie schools who made India proud

Ajay Ramola

Tribune News Service

Mussoorie, August 5

Oak Grove School, St George’s College and Wynberg Allen School in Mussoorie can boast of their connection with the greatest sporting extravaganza of the globe that is scheduled to begin at Rio de Janiero, Brazil, from August 6.

Oak Grove School managed by the Northern Railway and situated in Jharipani, Mussoorie, 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.

Leslie Hammond, another former student of Oak Grove School, was a tall defender who played in the 1928 Olympics. Hammond played three of the five matches in the Amsterdam Games as part of defence without conceding even a goal in the tournament.

Hammond was one of the four players who retained their places for the 1932 Olympics (the others were Richard James Allen, Broome Eric Pinniger and Dhyan Chand).

After graduating from Oak Grove School, Hammond went to La Martiniere in Lucknow (1917-1920). He later immigrated to Australia.

Richard John Carr, born on January 21, 1911, was an Indian field hockey player who competed in the 1932 Summer Olympics and played one match as forward and scored one goal. He was a forward player, who 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.

Six former students of St. George’s College, namely two brothers Earnest and William Goodsir-Cullen, George Marthins, Michael Gately, Lionel Emmett, and Carlyle Carrol Tapsell, represented the Indian team in the Olympics in hockey. Ernie represented India in the 1936 Olympics and playing as half back won the gold medal for the team. Ernie’s older brother William Cullen also won a gold medal at the 1928 Amsterdam Summer Olympics. Carlyle Tapsell, another former student of St George’’s College, was the first penalty corner expert and a strong left back who scored a goal each in the final against Germany and the semifinal against France, besides shooting two goals earlier in the tournament. Lionel Charles R. Emmett represented the country in the 1936 Summer Olympics and played one match as forward also. Emmet was fond of hunting and had a licence to shoot man-eater tigers and rogue elephants. George Eric McCarthy Marthins (December 24, 1905, to March 1989), another student form St George’’s College, competed in the 1928 Summer Olympics as a member of the Indian field hockey team, which won gold medals.

Another student of St George’’s College, 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.

Broome Eric Pinniger was born on December 28, 1902, at Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh. He was regarded as the world’s best centre-half before the World War-II. He was named vice-captain for the 1928 Indian Olympics team. He along with four other players again represented India at the Los Angeles 1932. He was also known for his prowess in shooting and had won one of the Empire’s prestigious awards. With this award in his bag he would have qualified for the Antwerp Olympics but unfortunately no team was sent for the event that year. His wife Florence was also an excellent javelin thrower of her time.

Wynberg Allen School also had it 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. Physical instructor Champa says 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.

Roop Chand, former coach and member director of the Cricket and Hockey Association Academy in Mussoorie, says Mussoorie was and is conducive for sporting activities but lacks a multipurpose stadium. A movement in this regard was visible with the announcement of construction of a stadium at Bhilaru and once completed hopefully the town will be able to give more Olympians to the nation.

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