Award Name : Arjuna Award
Year of Award : 1967
Award for : Sports and Games
Location : Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India
Peter Thangaraj was an Indian football player. Thangaraj played for the Indian national side at the 1956 Melbourne and 1960 Rome Olympics. He was voted Asia’s best goalkeeper in 1958. Thangaraj was a recipient of Arjuna Award for the year 1967. He was born on 24 December 1935 in Hyderabad. Thangaraj began his football career with Morning Star Club and Friends Union Club of Secundarabad. Although Thangaraj started his career as centre forward for Madras Regimental Centre in 1953, he found his calling in goalkeeping and went on to excel both at the domestic and international level. In the domestic level, under his mentorship the Madras Regimental Centre won the Durand Cup in 1955 and 1958. Thangaraj later became the captain of Services Team that won its first Santosh Trophy in 1960. During the tenure of three years he played for the Calcutta (now Kolkata) team Mohammedan Sporting. He also played for the two rivalry teams, Mohan Bagan, East Bengal. He was also part of Bengal team that continuously won the Santosh Trophy from 1961 to 1964 under his title. Thangaraj was also a part of the Railways' victory in 1965.
In the International Football Peter made his debut by participating in the Quadrangular Tournament in 1955. Thangaraj was one of the mainstays of the Indian team that performed well at the 1956 Melbourne and 1960 Rome Olympics. When India clinched the gold at the 1962 Jakarta Asian Games, Thangaraj was reassuring as the Indian custodian. He also represented the Indian Football team in the Tokyo Asian Games 1958, Asian Cup Football in 1964 in Israel and at Burma in 1966 and Bangkok Asian Games 1966. He has also played in the Merdeka Cup Football tournament held at Kuala Lampur from the year 1958 to 1966, and played for the Asian All Star team twice. He was named the Best Goalkeeper of Asia in 1958 and awarded the Arjuna Award in 1967. Thangaraj twice played for the Asian All-Star team and was adjudged the Best Goalkeeper in 1967. The legend passed away of a heart attack on the 24th of November 2008 at Bokaro.