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Indian connection to Australian Hockey


By Andy O'Brien
25 August, 2000

Sydney: If India happen to face Australia in the Olympic hockey tournament in Sydney, it would be apt to recall how Australia's rich hockey tradition owes a great deal to India.

The reason behind this is the contribution made by the dozens of Indian-born hockey players and coaches, who contributed to the game here after they migrated from their homeland to make Australia their country of adoption.

Specifically prominent has been the contribution made by the Anglo Indian community, which in India produced the likes of Leslie Claudius and Richard Allen and other great Anglo-Indian hockey players.

In fact, when India faced Australia in the semi-finals of the 1960 Olympics in Rome, it was a unique occasion. The captains who came face to face were both Anglo-Indians, Claudius and Kevin Carton. Australia's current first choice centre half Paul Gaudion is continuing that Anglo Indian contribution to Australian hockey.

The 25-year-old Western Australian school teacher was born in Australia but has an Anglo-Indian father (originally from Madras) and a British mother. 'Gooders,' as he is nicknamed by his teammates, has a natural talent for hockey, which, together with his sensational skills, he says is probably got from his Indian heritage, like his love for curries and Indian food.

Many of his teammates tease him that he has got his flexible wrists from his Indian heritage. Gaudion is one of the senior most members of the Australian team and much of Australia's chances to break the bogey of Olympic gold will depend on his performance in the pivotal centre half position.

One of Gaudion's career highlights was when he visited the city his father was born in and grew up in - Madras - to represent Australia in the 1997 Champions Trophy. Unfortunately, hockey wise it was not a good experience with Australia finishing in their worst ever position at the Champions Trophy. What does Gaudion think of Indian hockey?

Well he feels that the Indian team has to back up their ball skills with improvements in areas such as penalty corners, trapping, possession and converting opportunities. "Their performance here when they last came to Australia in April -May must do their confidence a great deal of good, especially their win here in the Perth Four Nation."

"We have to back ourselves. And I'll be happy for the Indian team to win the silver, as long as we win the gold," he says with a laugh. In fact, the whole Gaudion family has made a great contribution to hockey in Western Australia with the three sons playing top-level hockey and their father a renowned coach.


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