India has been a part of the modern Olympics movement almost since Olympics's inception in the year 1894. Ever since India has been participating in the Olympics Games being organized quadrennially, starting with one athlete in its first entry in the year 1900, India now sends a large contingent consisting of hundreds of athletes but unfortunately the country of over a billion now could so far gather only twenty medals for all its toil and sweat. However, one sport at which India could look back with pride and satisfaction has been Hockey. No other Olympics sport or discipline in which India has been participating proved to be as rewarding as Hockey where it has won more than half of its tally of medals till date. Therefore it will be no exaggeration if it is said that history of Indian Olympics glory is nothing but history of Indian Olympics hockey.
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. It is, therefore, heart warming that young and a resurgent Indian team under the new chief coach Michael Nobbs has this time managed to qualify for the Olympics to be held this year at London by winning the qualifying event held at Delhi. The Indian hockey team under the captainship of goal keeper Bharat Chetri participating in Olympics games after a gap of 8 years. 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.
Last Updated on 8/6/2012
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