Hockey legend Leslie Claudius honoured

August 2nd, 2011 - 12:10 am ICT by IANS  

Mamata Banerjee Kolkata, Aug 1 (IANS) City-based East Bengal Club Monday celebrated its 92nd foundation day by honouring Indian hockey legend Leslie Claudius with the ‘Bharat Gaurav Samman.

Triple Olympic gold medal winner in hockey, Claudius was handed over the award by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Seemingly overwhelmed by the gesture, Claudius said: “East Bengal is the pride of the country. I appreciate what you have done for me. I shall cherish this all my life.”

Claudius was described as “the only Indian sporting juggernaut” in a plaque given by the club. He also received a cheque of Rs. two lakh.

The club also conferred gave lifetime achievement awards to iconic footballers Sukumar Samajpati and Sudhir Karmakar.

Mehtab Hussain was named footballer of the year for the club. He was awarded the golden boot and a cash prize of Rs.50,000 by Banerjee.

“I am really happy to get this award. When I had joined the club, many had said that I was finished. But thanks to my team members, coach and the fans I am now the proud recipient of this award,” said Hussain.

On the occasion, veteran referees Dilip Sen and Pradip Nag as well as sports journalists Shyam Sundat Ghosh and Chittaranjan Biswas were felicitated for their contribution to sports.

The event was attended by past and present players as well as political leaders including former public works minister Kshiti Goswami.

Speaking on the occasion, Banerjee who is an honorary lifetime member of the club said: “I congratulate the club on this day. However we all must remember that it is the fans who make a club famous and big.”

Urging budding footballers to take the country’s standards to international level, she said: “Don’t you want to play in the world cup? Let’s face the challenge. There is nothing that is impossible. If there is a will, there is a way.”

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