Sultan Azlan Shaw Hockey tournament which is held in Malaysia is named after the ninth king of Malaysia, Sultan Azlan Shaw. Sultan Azlan Shaw is an enthusiastic admirer of field hockey. Sultan Azlan Shaw Hockey Tournament is conducted every year in Malaysia from the year 1998, earlier the tournament was conducted every alternative year when it began in 1983. The 1983 opening tournament included five teams India, Pakistan, Malaysia, New Zealand and Australia in the name as Raja Tun Azlan Shaw Cup. Two years after its inauguration the name is changed to the present name as Sultan Azlan Shaw Hockey Tournament. The 1983 inaugural tournament was won by Australia beating Pakistan by a solitary goal. Sultan Azlan Shaw Hockey Tournament became so popular that the coordinators were forced to conduct the tournament every year.
India secured the Sultan Azlan Shaw cup three times in 1985, 1991 and 1995 before winning the 2009 tournament for the fourth time by beating the hosts Malaysia by 3 goals to 1 in the finals. The three goals being shared one each by Arjun Halappa, Probjot Singh and Shivender Singh. Indian Hockey Team captain Sandeep Singh scored 6 of the 12 goals scored by India in this tournament and named as the player of the Sultan Azlan Shaw Hockey tournament 2009. Indian Hockey team achieved this success of winning 2009 Sultan Azlan Shaw Hockey Tournament 13 years after their last win of the tournament in the year 1995. Sandeep Singh’s 59th minute goal against their arch rivals Pakistan helped India to reach the finals of the 2009 Sultan Azlan Shaw Hockey Tournament. It was a sensational win for India as both the teams were tied up with one goal each till the 59th minute. India’s coach Harendra Singh takes the credit for successfully guiding India to win the 2009 tournament after taking over from the previous Australian coach Ric Charlesworth. Before the 2009 tournament India has defeated Malaysia in the final of the 1985 Sultan Azlan Shaw Hockey tournament.
For Malaysia it is a great disappointment to taste defeat in 2009 as it is their third defeat in the finals of the Sultan Azlan Shaw hockey tournament in their own home. Malaysia has never won this title although they featured in the finals three times. New Zealand secured the third place by defeating Pakistan by 2 goals to1 in the third place deciding match.
Pakistan won Sultan Azlan Shaw Hockey tournament three times in 1999, 2000 and 2003. Germany came out as champions of this tournament twice in the year 1987 and 2001 while Australia lifted the cup twice in 1983 and 1998. England in 1994 and Korea in 1996 emerged champions of the Sultan Azlan Shaw Hockey tournament one time each.
The Sultan Aslan Shaw hockey tournament has developed more prominence in the past years and is considered as one of the world’s best selected hockey events in the international schedule. It is also a guide for thrilling hockey providing preview for many key teams to fight for competing in Olympics.