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Olympics has been tough on India and the nation is still struggling to find its feet in the biggest tournament of them all. The number of medals that they have won is not impressive to say the least. Last Olympics at Beijing was considered to be the best, but there as well the contingent returned with only three medals and for a country with population of over 1.2 billion people the number is far from being impressive.
Hockey as a sport has stood out when it comes to winning medals at Olympics. India ruled the world in this sport and has some outstanding records to its name. They just dominated the game from 1928 to 1956 and won six Olympics medals in a row. India overall has won eight Olympic gold, one silver and two bronze. In total according to IOC India have won a total of 20 medals (2 silver medals were won by Norman Pritchard which the International committees credit to Great Britain) and 11 of them we won in hockey.
But times have changed and Indian hockey is no more close to what it used to be in the past. Last time India won a medal it was in the year 1980 in Moscow. Since then the sport has been on a fall and in 2008 Beijing Games, it hit the all time low as they could not even qualify for the Games. That was the first time since 1928 that India were not able to field a team in the Olympics. However India has qualified for the London Olympics but their chances of winning a medal are highly improbable. Even the coach of the national team said that he would be happy if India could finish in the top six.
The sport that we dominated for so long is giving us tough times now. Let’s see the medal winning effort from our hockey teams from the past:
1928 Amsterdam: India won their first Olympic gold medal. Indian hockey team under the captaincy of Captain Jaipal Singh defeated Holland 3-0 in the finals to win their first ever gold medal. Legendary Indian hockey player Dhyan Chand was at his magical best in the finals as he scored all the three goals that India scored in the final four minutes of the match.
1932 Los Angeles: India under the captaincy of Captain Lal Shah Bokhari won their second gold medal after thrashing the host country USA 24-1 in the finals. Dhyan Chand and Roop Singh were on song throughout this tournament.
1936 Berlin: It was Dhyan Chand’s last Olympics and he was the captain of the side. India under his captaincy defeated Germany 8-1 in the finals to win their third consecutive Olympic gold medal.
1948 London: India won their fourth gold medal and first as an independent country in London Olympics and it was once again our hockey team that brought us the glory. India under the captaincy of Captain Kishan Lal defeated hosts Britain 4-0 in the finals.
1952 Helsinki: Indian hockey team under the captaincy of Captain Kunwar Digvijay Singh Babu won their fifth consecutive Olympic gold medal when they defeated Holland 6-1 in the finals.
1956 Melbourne: Balbir Singh’s team made it sixth in the row for India in the Olympics when his team defeated Pakistan 1-0 in the finals. Udham Singh scored a total of 15 goals in the tournament.
1960 Rome: In this Olympics Pakistan brought the end to the dream run of Indian team, India under the captaincy of Leslie Claudius were beaten by the Pakistani team in the finals as India had to be restricted with a silver medal.
1964 Tokyo: India once agains stamped their authority on the world by clinching their seventh Olympic gold medal under the captaincy of Captain Charanjit Singh and defeated their arch rival Pakistan 1-0 in the finals.
1968 Mexico: Indian hockey team could manage a bronze medal in Mexico. Pakistan took the honors with a gold medal and Australia sealed a silver medal.
1972 Munich: Indian team under the captaincy of Captain Harmeek Singh had to be content with a bronze medal as Germany won the gold medal and Pakistan a silver medal.
1980 Moscow: Indian hockey team after a long gap of 16 years won the gold medal under the captaincy of Captain Vasudevan Bhaskaran. India beat Spain 4-3 in the finals to win the medal. And that was the last time India ever finished on the podium.
By Gaurav Jha
Indian Sports News