IT WAS a proud day for Tamilian Physical Cultural Association (TPCA) hockey players and its members as the TPCA Invitational Veteran Hockey Tournament was played in their new ground in Kajang.
TPCA purchased the ground for RM1.6mil and everyone associated with the club were elated as they hosted their first tourney after 37 years.
The new ground, which is called the TPCA Oval Cricket pitch, can be utilised for multiple sports like football, cricket and hockey.
TPCA was established in 1914 and its home ground was the Raja Muda Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
It was taken over by the government in 1982, leaving the club without a home ground.
TPCA president Edwin Francis said the club had grown by leaps and bounds in the past 100 years.
“There were mixed emotions among members as now feel a greater sense of belonging.
“It has been a worthwhile journey. We would like to thank the many recreation clubs who supported us during this tournament and played on grass, ” he said.
Francis explained that most stadiums now have astroturf pitches but most of the veteran players grew up playing hockey on grass.
“Only a few clubs like Royal Selangor Club in Bukit Kiara, Penang Sports Club and Kelab Aman have tournaments like this on grass.
“This helps keep the game alive among veteran hockey enthusiasts aged 40 and above, ” he said.
Tournament organising chairman Balakrishnan Gopal, who is also TPCA hockey coordinator, said there are more than a dozen such veteran hockey tournaments throughout Malaysia.
“This year, we only had two categories, 40 and above as well as 50 and above. We had seven teams – Kelab Aman, Tampin Veterans, TPCA A, TPCA B, Grays Hockey Club, Sentul Sports Club and Ipoh Lads – competing for the 40 and above category.
“For the 50 and above category, we had five teams – Universiti Pertahanan Nasional Malaysia (UPNM), Kelab Aman, Royal Klang Club, Sathiya Hockey Club and Lorong Aman – taking part.
“Next year, we are planning to introduce an additional 45 and above category so that it will be more competitive.
“Every Saturday, we also have hockey training clinics for students.
“We also welcome other social hockey clubs for friendlies as it would foster good relations. We can also exchange ideas on how to build the club, ’’ he said.
In the tourney, TPCA A edged Kelab Aman 1-0 in the final to win the 40 and above category.
Grays Hockey Club beat Ipoh Lads 3-2 in a penalty shootout to finish third.
In the 50 and above category, Lorong Aman beat Royal Klang Club 2-1 in the final to emerge champions.
Meanwhile, Sathiya Hockey Club clinched third spot after beating UPNM 3-0 in a penalty shootout.