Olympic field hockey squads and even once-a-week club teams are competing for the championship of the 16th annual John F. Kennedy Memorial Field Hockey Tournament today.
"For the field hockey people it's an important tournament and it's really exciting," said Suzanne Beam of the Washington Hockey Club squad. "Getting together with a lot of people from other countries is really great. There is a lot of competition but if you don't win you still have a good time."
"Some people take it seriously but we're here just for the fun," said Mark Higgins, captain of the Freeport Hockey Club in the Bahamas.
Keshav Roy, manager of the Indian Airlines team from New Delhi, takes the tournament seriously. "Hockey is a very popular sport in India," Roy said. "We consider America one of the high caliber sports countries in the world. And knowing that, there is an effort to build up the sport.
"We have some Olympians on our team and that enables the youngsters to learn and copy from these athletes," Roy said.
The Indian Airlines teams have won the JFK tournament the last four years.
Ganga Dhillon, a 1956 field hockey gold medalist for India, began the JFK Tournament in 1965 because he saw a need for such a prestige event.
"The idea was conceived after had been to a tournament in 1962, and in our first year we had six teams," he said.
This year there are 16 men's teams and 13 women's squads in the tournament, with 15 squads from overseas.
"I'm very proud of it," Dhillon continued. "I can't transulate my feelings into words. It's a very competitive sport and I hope that the youth will wake up and accept the challenge in 1984. The United States Olympic Committee is making every effort to bring the game to every city," Dhillon explained.
The finals for the tournament will be held today on the hockey fields near the Reflecting Pool starting at 8 a.m.