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Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mexico Olympics 1968 Hockey Champion (January 30, 1969)

The format of the stamps is rectangular and vertical. There is a green panel at the top, in the left portion of which appears the lettering “MEXICO OLYMPICS 1968” and the Olympics rings in the right half portion, all in reverse. The Background below the panel is in pink colour in Re. 1/-stamp and light blue in 15 Paisa stamp. A hockey player is shown in action near the left side of the stamp in green, black and white, partially superimposed on a fairly large size facsimile of Gold Medal which is printed in gold and green. The inscription and other details of gold medal being in green. The word “Pakistan” in Bengali, Urdu and English reads in one line at the bottom in black. Just above this line appears the word “Postage” at the left end and the denominations Re.1 or Paisa 15 at the right end in black. The caption “HOCKEY CHAMPIONS” appears just below the green panel in black.
The Commemorative Postage Stamps will be available for sale on and from the 30th January, 1969 for a period of three months at all important Post Offices, Philatelic Bureaux and Philatelic Counters and also at some of the Pakistan Diplomatic Missions abroad. Thereafter, if the supplies are still available, they will be sold only at the Philatelic Bureaux and Philatelic Counters
As a happy coincidence, the culmination of the Decade of Reforms on 26th October 1968 brought in a new glory for Pakis-tan in the field of sports when it won back the coveted world hockey crown at the Mexico Olympics. After a series of dazzling victories, Pakistan re-established its position as the unbeaten world champions in hockey.
Since long the areas now in Pakistan have produced many great hockey players who won international acclaim. Imme-diately after Independence this branch of sports, however, did not receive enough encouragement in the country, as such the per-formance during the first few years were not very encouraging. The young nation did not fare as well as they should have in London Olympics in 1948 where they finished fourth. Four years later in the 1952 Helsinki Olympics Pakistan again failed to achieve great results. This led to the formation of a committee whose recommendations were later put into effect and hockey activities were accelerated.
Pakistan made its mark in the international hockey when they reached the final in the Melbourne Olympics in 1956. Only two years later in the Asian Games at Tokyo, Pakistan won the gold medal from India on better goal average. It was a magni-ficent achievement on the part of Pakistan but a bigger occa-sion still awaited the new Asian Champions. Two years later, at the 1960 Rome Olympics, Pakistan led by Hamidi became world Hockey Champions.
In 1962 at Jakarta Pakistan defended the Asian crown, beating India by two goals to nil. Pakistan, however, suffered setback in 1964 Tokyo Olympics when she surrendered the world title to India. In 1966 Pakistan lost the Asian title also. In 1967 Pakistan played test series against Holland and Aus-tralia and later participated in the London Hockey Festival. In early 1968 an International Hockey Festival was held at Lahore where Pakistan finished on top. Later Japan visited Pakistan but the Japanese team was beaten in all the three tests.
During the two years preceding 1968 Olympics, various com-bination were tried for the Pakistan team and finally a satisfac-tory combination was found out. A panel of coaches was entrusted with the job of training the players at Lower Topa keeping in view the high altitude of the Mexico City. All these efforts were amply rewarded when the team came out victorious at the Mexico City Olympics beating Holland, Kenya, France, England, Argentina, Australia, Malaysia & West Germany. The President of Pakistan Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan congratulated the members of the Pakistan Hockey Team on their superb performance. In a cable sent to the skip per, Tariq Aziz, the President said, “I heartily congratulate you and all members of your team on their grand victory in the Olympic Championship. This is a tribute to your team spirit, dedication and skill. Pakistan is proud of your superb performance\".