Kolkata: After a Nationwide 14-city tour, which included some of the most prominent and picturesque Tri-Service bases as well as the home of the defending champions Bengaluru FC and the two other host cities of Guwahati and Kokrajhar, the three magnificent Durand Cup trophies were finally “Flagged-In” at Kolkata today. A ceremony to mark the occasion was organized by the Indian Army at the Maidan(Brigade Parade Ground), Kolkata where the Trophies were received and “Flagged-In” jointly by Shri. Aroop Biswas, Hon. Minister in Charge for Sports and Youth Affairs and Power, Government of West Bengal and Lt Gen RP Kalita, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command, among other key dignitaries who were present on the occasion.
The three Durand Cup Trophies, the Durand Cup (a rolling trophy and the original prize), the Shimla Trophy (also a rolling trophy and first given by the residents of Shimla in 1904) and the President’s Cup (for permanent keep and first presented by Dr. Rajendra Prasad, India’s first President, in 1956), were jointly “Flagged-Off” on June 30, 2023, from the capital New Delhi by General Manoj Pande, PVSM, AVSM, VSM, ADC, Chief of Army Staff, Indian Army, Air Chief Marshal VK Chaudhary, Chief of Air Staff and Shri. Kalyan Chaubey, President, All India Football Federation (AIFF).
It traversed places like Dehradun, the home of the Indian Military Academy, Udhampur (HQ Northern Command), Jaipur (HQ South-Western Command), Pune (National Defence Academy), Mumbai (HQ Western Naval Command), Karwar Naval Base, Naval Academy (Ezhimala), Kochi (HQ Southern Naval Command), Bengaluru (Army Service Corps Centre), Air Force Academy (Hyderabad), Guwahati, Gen Bipin Rawat Military Garrison at Kibithu, Shillong and Kokrajhar, before returning to its final base, Kolkata.
To promote the iconic tournament further, for the first time ever in Eastern India, a daring BASE jump was carried out by two of the best free-fallers in the country, Group Captain Kamal Singh Oberh (Retd) and Lt. Col. Satyendra Verma (Retd), who jumped from Kolkata’s tallest building, The 42 and parachuting down to the venue unfurling the Durand Flags enroute the journey.
Sport is all about challenging human limits of perseverance, fulfilling desires and stretching yourself beyond the boundaries. BASE jumping embodies all such characteristics. It has never been attempted or seen in the city before and the idea is to capture the imagination of the city’s residents, to bring joy to them and to announce that the Durand is back. What better way than to do it from the city’s highest point.