Chandigarh, Feb 26 : An orange-coloured float with a 'fan wall' for people to write their messages for the Indian hockey team was Friday set to travel 700 km in Punjab before heading to New Delhi to popularise the national sport to coincide with the hockey World Cup.
Called "Pass The Josh", the initiative was inaugurated here by triple Olympic gold medalist Balbir Singh (Senior). The bright float had colourful banners and youngsters carrying hockey sticks in their hand.
Apart from the float with the 'fan wall', "Pass the Josh" also has a photo-exhibition compiled by sports filmmaker Sunil Yash Kalra, displaying 24 rare pictures depicting 100 glorious years of Indian hockey.
The initiative is being sponsored by ING Life, a major partner in the forthcoming world cup to be held in New Delhi Feb 28-March 13.
"This float would carry the official fan wall of the event for citizens to come up and write their messages, which will then go to Delhi... Our basic idea is to engage more and more citizens with the national sport hockey," Uco Vegter, chief marketing and strategy officer of ING Life, said here Friday.
The photo-exhibition is divided into two sections: 'Domination' and 'Innovation', each representing an era in Indian hockey. 'Domination' showcases eight decades of success enjoyed by the national team as they won six Olympic gold medals in a row.
'Innovation' depicts the journey of hockey post 1975, an era that witnessed both tumult and triumph.
"I have selected these 24 photographs from a reservoir of over 5,000 pictures and they have been displayed in public for the first time. After travelling in different parts of Punjab, this exhibition will reach New Delhi, which is all set to host the world cup," Kalra, who compiled the photos, told IANS.
"This is my salute to Indian hockey. I have collected these photographs from 17 different countries and invested a huge chunk of time and resources while collecting them. There are some photographs for which I had to pay over 700 euros. We just want to pass the same 'josh' to the current Indian team that is vying for the world cup," he added.
The exhibition also has a special segment on the Olympic gold medal clinched by the Indian hockey team in the 1948 London Olympics. It marked the first Olympic gold medal of independent India and it was the first time when the Indian tricolour was unfurled on British soil.
Former hockey players like Gagan Ajit Singh, Harmik Singh and Kanwal Preet Singh were also present when 'Pass The Josh' was inaugurated. (IANS)