India is one of the top hockey-playing nations in the world. It joined the Olympic movement in 1928, played its first hockey competition at Amsterdam and won the gold medal. Thereafter there was no looking back, and it won eight gold medals, one silver medal and two bronze medals in the subsequent Olympic Games. It is evident from these facts that the country remained a force to reckon with for about four decades. During this period the hockey was being played on natural grass. In the early 1970s the FIH introduced synthetic surface popularly known as Astroturf for playing the game. With the switch from natural-grass to artificial turf, the Indian dominance ended in hockey. Since these artificial turfs were extremely costly, most of the developing nations could not afford these facilities. As a matter of fact, India is still struggling to cope with this problem.
It is also a well known fact that the state of Punjab has played a key role in the upliftment of Indian hockey. Every time India played hockey at Olympics, there was large participation of players from the state. The introduction of Astroturf in the field hockey and lack of sufficient numbers of such grounds in the country, including Punjab, played a key role in the decline of hockey in this subcontinent. But with all-out efforts by the Union Government and number of state governments, the situation is improving slowly but surely. During the last couple of years the Punjab Government has set up number of hockey stadiums with Astroturf in the state.
The Hockey Stadium at Rajindra College, Bathinda is one of these newly-built stadiums. The Rajindra College is a renowned institution of the Malwa region of Punjab established in 1940. The college has a sprawling campus with large open space for playing fields. A part of this space has been utilized for setting up the new Hockey Stadium. The stadium and its supporting infrastructure such as roads and parking occupy an area of about 8 acres. A ring road runs all around the stadium and provides access from all sides. Apart from the college side, it has been made approachable independently from two major roads - the Bathinda-Mansa road, and the Mini-Secretariat road.
The Stadium is well equipped with all the modern facilities such as Astroturf, flood lights and two seating pavilions. Some open seating steps have been planned along its shorter sides but these have not been built as yet. The seating pavilions have been built functionally and aesthetically. Each pavilion can accommodate 1500 seats for spectators. These are covered with a magnificent steel canopy which lends it a modern and contemporary look. Numbers of other facilities have been housed underneath the seating area. These facilities include entrance foyers, changing rooms for players, wash rooms, offices, gymnasium etc. With all these facilities, the stadium can be ranked as one of the best in the state. It is hoped that such stadiums will help the nation in reviving the Indian dominance in hockey once again.