Indian Hockey in Olympics
Hockey is a family of sports in which two teams play against each other by trying to maneuver a ball or a puck into the opponent’s goal using a hockey stick. In many areas, one sport (typically field hockey or ice hockey) is generally referred to simply as hockey.
Field hockey was introduced to India in 1885.
The India national field hockey team is the national men’s team representing field hockey in India, controlled by Hockey India, the governing body for field hockey in India. It is the first non-European team to be a part of the International Hockey Federation.
In 1928, the team won its first Olympic gold medal and until 1956, the Indian men’s team remained unbeaten in the Olympics, winning six gold medals in a row. The Indian team has won a total of eight gold, one silver and two bronze medals in Olympics. India also won the 1975 World Cup.
Having won eight Olympics gold medals till date, India is the most successful team ever in Olympics. It’s sponsored by Sahara and Shiv-Naresh.
Though India has been winning medals in Olympics Games sporadically, there is no other sport except hockey where its record has been so consistent and so successful, till not so distant a past. Glorious performances in one Olympics after the other made this game so popular in India that it came to be recognized as the national game of the country. Not only did it won 6 Gold medals in the Olympic games from the year 1928 to 1956, it went on to win 1 Gold medal each at the Tokyo Olympics in the year 1964 and Moscow Olympics in the year 1980. In between, it also won silver medal in the year 1960 Olympics games and a bronze medal each in the Olympics games of 1968 and 1972.
It is really very disappointing to note that after scaling such great heights in it’s hey days the Indian hockey has been on a downfall path ever since it won the gold medal in the Moscow Olympics in the year 1980. To be honest, the downslide of Indian hockey begs in much earlier than this. Since the Gold medal here was won largely due to the boycott of these games by almost all the top ranking teams of the countries such as Australia, Germany, Netherlands and Pakistan. Gone are the days of legendary Dhyan Chand, who almost single handedly won India 3 Olympics gold medals, or other stalwarts like Balbir Singh (Senior), RS Bhola, Leshie Clandis, Surjit Singh, Pargat Singh, Ashok Kumar and Ajitpal Singh. Though India have not been with out players of individual brilliance from time to time, lack of cohesive team effort coupled with its inability to keep pace with the changing rules and regulations governing the game has proved to be the undoing of Indian hockey.
The continuous falling standards of Indian hockey ultimately led to disgraceful situation where it could not even qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics games.The Indian Hockey team’s recent performance in some preparatory and other major tournaments raise hope that India’s campaign in the London Olympics may well see a trend reversal and at least it could finish in top- 6 places if not a podium finish. If that happens it will be a truly remarkable comeback for the Indian hockey team that was once the power house of the world hockey.