A. I. S. Dara - Legends of Hockey
Written by PHF   

Col. Ali Iqtidar Shah Dara was the first to lead Pakistan in a CI Olympics, in 1948 at London. And rightly so for he was already an Olympian, one of only four who had the honor to play both for undivided India and Pakistan.

Dara's ability as a playmaker was acknowledged by the greatest of the great, Dhyan Chand himself, and there can be no greater tribute. With Dhyan Chand playing at spearhead, Dara was in-side- right and scored three goals in the '36 Berlin Olympics final..

 

Though Muslims in undivided India were a force to reckon with in hockey, still Pakistan was not to make a great mark in the '48 London Olympics even with Dara leading them. It was too ill-prepared a side and with every individual considering himself greater than the team, Dara could not have an impact. To be fair,he was no longer the player he had been in the' 30s and his being downhill in terms of prowess as a player did not help. But Dara was far too good to let go; he chose to stay on and help guide the nascent nation's hockey destiny. It was fitting that he was manager when the team won the first big one, the Olympic gold at Rome in 1960.A great diplomat, he was much respected in the FIH and rose to become not only its vice-president but was considered one of the most influential people of his time in the world body. Dara paved the way for his successors, like Brig (Retd) S.M.H. Atif, to have a similar influence by introducing them at that level.

A.I.S.Dara
A.I.S.Dara

For one who made such a huge contribution to Pakistan hockey,and indeed for the game at large, he never held an official position with the Pakistan Hockey Federation.

Perhaps he was too big for any, anyway. A man of ideas, such was his sweep that not only he contributed to the growth of Pakistan hockey, he saw to it that the game grew horizontally at world level.


The success of the World Cup, the Champions Trophy as well as the Asia Cup, and the fact that it was his initiative and his clout at the FIH that got Pakistan in the forefront by introducing these events, is a lasting tribute to his vision.

Source: www.phf.com.pk