Olympics have been the highest platform of sporting excellence. As the Olympic motto “Citius, Altius, Fortius” suggests “faster, higher, stronger” are the most important words in sports. The motto describe the Olympic spirit and inspire the athletes to perform to their best of abilities. If it weren’t Olympic Hockey, India’s participation at Olympics is limited to very few podium finishes. Today we’ll talk about the glory days, India had in Olympic Games. We’ll sneak peek into the history to read about 8 Indian Captains who led their teams to Olympic Hockey gold medals.
8. Moscow 1980 Summer Olympic Games
The Summer Olympic Games at Moscow in 1980 were the last edition of Olympic Games which saw glory days of Indian Hockey. Since then, the Indian team have been searching for their best set of performances at the Olympic Games.
Baskaran led the Indian team to this feat in Russia. It was a six match journey for India towards glory which India traveled unbeaten. India started off with 18-0 win over minnows Tanzania. Surinder Singh Sodhi was the top goalscorer with 5, while Davinder Singh and Indian Skipper scoring 4-each. Other goalscorers were Zafar Iqbal with 2, and Mohammed Shahid, Mervyn Fernandis & Maharaj Krishan Kaushik with a goal each.
In the second and third match, India drew with Poland and Spain. Davinder Singh and Mervyn Fernandis were goalscorers against Poland while Surinder Singh Sodhi made the scoreboard moving against Spain.
India went on goal galore again in the fourth match in a 13-0 win over Cuba. Captain Baskaran scored once while Surinder Singh Sodhi again spearheaded the goalscoring with 4 goals. Mohammed Shahid, Davinder Singh, Rajinder Singh, Amarjit Singh Rana listed their names twice on the scoreboard.
In the fifth match, India defeated hosts Russia 4-2. The goal scorers were Surinder Singh Sodhi who scored twice and Davinder Singh & Maharaj Krishan Kaushik who scored apiece.
With 3 wins and 2 draws to their credit, India entered the final against Spain. India defeated Spain 4-3 this time to take the highest pedal on podium. Surinder Singh Sodhi scored twice while Mohammed Shahid and Maharaj Krishan Kaushik scored once. India were champions!!
Surinder Singh Sodhi was the highest goal scorer for India while Mohammed Shahid got credit for creating opportunities. This was 8th of the 8 Olympic Hockey gold medals India won.
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7. Tokyo 1964 Summer Olympic Games
Charanjit Singh led India to what was Independent India’s 4th Olympic Gold medal in Field Hockey. This medal came at the 1964 Summer Olympics which was hosted at Tokyo, Japan. The medal got India’s way after 8 years as they had lost to Pakistan in 1960 Summer Olympics to stay content with a silver medal. It was a 9 match campaign for India out of which they won 7 and drew 2.
India started their gold medal campaign with a 2-0 win over Belgium with Prithipal Singh and Haripal Kaushik scoring for India. In the second and third match India drew 1-1 with Germany and Spain with Prithipal Singh and Mohinder Lal scoring respectively.
In the fourth match, India drubbed minnows Hong Kong 6-0. Prithpal Singh, Darshan Singh & Harbinder Singh each scored twice. Fifth match saw India overpassing Malaysia with a 3-1 win. Prithpal Singh scored twice while Harbinder Singh scored once.
In the sixth match, India beat Canada 3-0. Harbinder Singh scored twice while Prithipal Singh scored once. Seventh match saw India beat Holland 2-1. Prithipal Singh & Victor John Peter scored both for the Indian team. Eight match was the semifinals of the Olympic Hockey tournament.
In the semifinals, India defeated Australia 3-1. Prithipal Singh & Mohinder Lal scored for India with 2 & 1 goals respectively to their names. Into the final, India faced arch-rivals Pakistan as their last frontier to conquer. The gold medal match didn’t see scoreboard running apart from the one time Mohinder Lal made it to. India were champions!!
Prithipal Singh was the highest goalscorer for India. This was 7th of the 8 Olympic Hockey gold medals India won.
6. Melbourne 1956 Summer Olympic Games
Balbir Singh Senior (Balbir Singh Dosanjh) led India to what was Independent India’s 3rd Olympic Gold medal in Field Hockey. This medal came at the 1956 Summer Olympics which was hosted at Melbourne, Australia. This edition saw what was India’s five match winning streak to the Olympic Gold medal.
India started off with 14-0 win over minnows Afghanistan. Indian Skipper Balbir Singh led from the front as he was the highest goalscorer with 5. Udham Singh Kullar scored 4-times while Randhir Singh Gentle scored thrice. Gurdev Singh Kullar scored twice in this goal galore. Second match saw India thrashing USA 16-0. Udham Singh Kullar & Hardyal Singh Garchey scored 7 & 5-times respectively. Other goal scorers were Gurdev Singh Kullar & Leslie Claudius who scored thrice and once respectively.
Third match had India beating Singapore 6-0. Udham Singh Kullar & Charles Stephen scored twice, while Randhir Singh Gentle & Hardyal Singh Garchey had one goal each to their credit. Fourth match was against East Germany which was a good side then. In this match against East Germany, India won with the lowest goal difference. It was one goal from Udham Singh Kullar which turned the results table in India’s favor.
Into the final and against the arch-rivals. Yes, India faced Pakistan in the Olympic Hockey tournament’s final. This was again a match with just one goal. This time the goal scorer was Randhir Singh Gentle who scored the lone goal of the gold medal match. India were champions for the 6th time.
This was 6th of the 8 Olympic Hockey Gold medals, India won. Udham Singh Kullar was the highest goalscorer for India with 14 goals.
5. Helsinki 1952 Summer Olympic Games
KD Singh Babu was the captain of the Team which won Independent India’s 2nd Olympic Gold medal in Field Hockey. This medal came at the 1952 Summer Olympics at Helsinki, Finland. This edition saw what would be Independent India’s second consecutive Olympic Gold medal.
India won three matches one after another to take home the Olympic gold medal. India won 4-0 against Austria in their quarterfinal match. Balbir Singh Dosanjh scored one in a match where India squandered opportunities more than scoring off these. In the semifinals, India were up against GB team. Balbir Singh Dosanjh scored a hat-trick in the match to give India a 3-1 win.
All eyes were onto the finals as India were pitted against Netherlands (or Holland as the video shows). India won the match 6-1 which saw Balbir Singh Dosanjh scoring 5 out of these.
This was 5th of the 8 Olympic Hockey Gold medals, India won. Balbir Singh Dosanjh was the highest goalscorer for India with 9 goals.
4. London 1948 Summer Olympic Games
Kishan Lal was leading a team which was created after a valiant efforts from the Indian Hockey management. This was due to the reason that the country was into the first year of it as an Independent nation with many players who represented India previously would go to newly created Pakistan.
This was what would be called as the first Olympic Gold medal for an Independent India in Hockey. They had won five as Independent nation till this was written.
India played three matches in group stage, followed by Semifinals and final. It was again a five match winning streak for India under Kishan Lal. India scored an 8-0 win over Austria in their first match. Patrick Jansen topscored with 4 goals while KD Singh Babu scored a brace. Skipper Kishan Lal & Reginald Rodriques scored apiece.
In their second match of the group stage, India defeated Argentina 9-1 with Balbir Singh Dosanjh scoring 6 goals. Patrick Jansen & Kishan Lal hit the back of net twice and once respectively. Third match saw India take on Spain. They won the match 2-0 with KD Singh Babu and Trilochan Singh scoring apiece.
Table topper India faced Netherlands in the Semifinal. It was a close match as India won by just one goal in a 2-1 result. Gerry Glacken and KD Singh Babu were the two goalscorers for India. India would play final against hosts GB which India won 4-0 to inspire the entire nation. Balbir Singh Dosanjh scored twice while Patrick Jansen & Tarlochan Singh scored apiece.
This was the fourth Olympic Gold medal for India in Hockey (though all three before came under British rule). India, thus, won 4th of the 8 Olympic Hockey Gold medals. Balbir Singh Dosanjh was the highest goalscorer with 8 goals, despite playing just 2 matches.
3. Berlin 1936 Summer Olympic Games
Legendary Dhyan Chand led India to what was their third Olympic Gold medal in Field Hockey. This medal came at the 1936 Summer Olympics at Berlin, Germany. This edition saw what would be India’s third consecutive Olympic Gold medal.
India played 3 matches at group stage followed by semifinal and final. Group stage saw India winning against Hungary (4-0), USA (7-0) & Japan (9-0). Roop Singh scored twice against Hungary & USA while once against Japan. Dhyan Chand scored twice against USA and 4-times against Japan. Other goalscorers were Shabban Shahab-ud-Din, Carlyle Tapsell, Sayed Jaffar & Peter Fernandes.
In the semifinals, India were pitted against France; a match they won with flying colors yet again. India drubbed France 10-0 with Dhyan Chand scoring 4 while Roop Singh scoring 3. Ali Dara scored 2, while Carlyle Tapsell scored once in this match.
India played their gold medal match against Germany which defeated Netherlands 3-0 in the semifinals. India won the match 8-1 which saw Dhyan Chand score thrice while Ali Dara scored twice. Roop Singh scored once and so did Carlyle Tapsell & Sayed Jaffar. This was the only match of Berlin Olympics where India conceded a goal.
India, thus, won what was their 3rd of the 8 Olympic Hockey Gold medals. Dhyan Chand was the highest goalscorer with 13 goals, despite not scoring against Hungary.
2. Los Angeles 1932 Summer Olympic Games
Lal Shah Bokhari led India to what was their second Olympic Gold medal in Field Hockey. This medal came at the 1932 Summer Olympics at Los Angeles, USA. This was a small tournament with just three teams participating.
In their first match, India played against Japan which they won 11-1. Dhyan Chand scored 4-times while Roop Chand scored thrice. Other goalscorers were Gurmit Singh Kullar & Richard Carr who scored thrice and once respectively.
In the final, India were pitted against USA who were hosts of the event. India thrashed the hosts 24-1 in what was a one-sided affair. Roop Singh scored 10 goals while Dhyan Chand scored 8. Other goal scorers were Gurmit Singh Kullar & Broome Penniger who scored 5 and 1 respectively.
India, thus, won what was their 2nd of the 8 Olympic Hockey Gold medals. Roop Singh was the highest goalscorer with 13 goals, while Dhyan Chand scored 12 goals.
1. Amsterdam 1928 Summer Olympic Games
Jaipal Singh led India to what was their debut in Field Hockey in Olympic Games. This happened at the 1928 Summer Olympics at Amsterdam, Netherlands. It was a 9-nations Olympic Hockey tournament that the world saw in this edition.
In the first match, India defeated Austria 6-0 with Dhyan Chand scoring 4 goals. Other goal scorers were Ali Shaukat & Maurice Gateley who scored apiece. Second match saw India defeating Belgium 9-0 with Feroz Khan scoring 5. Frederic Seaman scored twice while George Marthins & Dhyan Chand scored apiece.
Third match saw India cleaning Denmark 5-0 with Dhyan Chand scoring 4. George Marthins was the other goal scorer. Fourth match saw India thrashing Switzerland 6-0 with Dhyan Chand scoring 3. Maurice Gateley scored twice while George Marthins was the other goal scorer.
In the gold medal match, India beat hosts Netherlands 3-0 with Dhyan Chand scoring twice. George Marthins was the other goal scorer. This was one of those tournaments where India didn’t concede a goal.
India, thus, won what was their first of the 8 Olympic Hockey Gold medals. Dhyan Chand was the highest goalscorer with 14 goals, while Feroz Khan scored 5 goals.