Indian sports witnessed a golden moment when India beat Germany by 5-4 to win the first Olympic medal in Hockey at the ongoing Olympic games. India managed to save a penalty corner when just 3 minutes were left on the clock and sealed the historic moment.
The Indian Hockey men’s team have always dominated the prestigious event in the early years by winning six consecutive golds from 1928 to 1956. Two more medals were added to this victory after the Tokyo Olympics 1964 and Moscow Olympics 1980, which led to a total of eight Olympic gold medals.
In 1928, India won its first Olympic hockey gold medal at the Amsterdam Olympics game. The games saw the emergence of the Hockey wizard, Dhyan Chand, the legend who scored 14 goals and ended the event as the top-scorer.
The team scored 29 goals across five matches and it was Dhyan Chand’s hat-trick that secured a 3-0 victory in the final over. The Netherlands gave the Indian hockey men’s team its first-ever gold medal at the Olympic Games.
Los Angeles 1932
In the first game, the Indian hockey team decimated the hosts by 24-1 where Indian athlete Roop Singh scored 10 goals while hockey player Dhyan Chand followed suit with eight of his own. In the finals, the Indian Team left no chance for the opponent Japan and won a second consecutive Olympic gold medal by a victory of 11-1.
The 1936 Games in Berlin saw the Indian hockey team bag a third Olympic gold medal and it was a fitting send-off for the then 31-year-old Dhyan Chand, who announced his retirement post the tournament.
Dhyan Chand retired with three Olympic golds to his name as the Indian hockey team beat hosts Germany with a victory of 8-1.
In the 1948 London Olympics, the Indian hockey team beat Argentina with a score of 9-1 and Austria by 8-0 before overcoming Spain 2-0 in the semi-finals. India gained independence a year earlier and was pitted against hosts Great Britain. For the first time, the two nations played against one another and were greeted by a 25,000-strong capacity crowd at the iconic Wembley Stadium. After the event, the Indian hockey team returned with a fourth gold medal and the first since independence. The triumph is also important as it saw the emergence of a new star in hockey player Balbir Singh Sr.
Four years later, Balbir Singh Sr, the vice-captain of the team put up another heroic performance, scoring nine goals across three matches. India reserved its best for the last as the team outdid the Netherlands by 6-1 in the final, with Balbir Singh Sr scoring five goals and skipper KD Babu adding the finishing touches. Once again, the Indian hockey team reigned supreme for a fifth time at the Olympics.
The crowning glory for the Indian hockey team came at the 1956 Games in Melbourne, as they completed a second hat-trick of Olympic golds.
This victory was not easy for the nation as hockey player Balbir Singh Sr suffered a fracture in his right hand. But despite the challenges, the captain came up with a true leader’s performance, played through and eventually team India triumphed by a score of 1-0 and lifted the historic sixth Olympic gold.
The final event took place between India and Pakistan where the Indian hockey team bravely survived a barrage of attacks from the opponents with goalkeeper Shankar Laxman saving everything that his rivals threw at him to ensure a seventh Olympic gold.
In the 1980 Moscow Olympics, facing Spain in the finals was an arduous task as the European nation put up a tough fight but the Indian hockey team were saved by Mohammad Shahid, who had set up several goals across matches, and scored one himself in the final to enable a victory of 4-3.