5 Greatest Players in the Indian Hockey History
Editorials News | Apr-20-2018
Fans are already thrilled by India’s rise in world hockey, and hockey world cup scheduled to be held in Bhubaneswar, India next year. India had a glorious past in sports of hockey. Indian men’s team being the only non-European team to be a part of International Hockey Federation. With 11 Olympic medals, 3 world cup medals, 14 Asian games medals and 2 Commonwealth medals. In the process, many great players came and went away. Here is the list of top hockey players from India.
- Dhyan Chand - Dhyan Chand Singh is one of the best hockey players of the world that India has ever produced. He has probably been the only Indian player ever in any sport whose skills were so high that it generated a number of myths about his abilities as a hockey player. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1956 and has won 3 Olympic golds.
- Balbir Singh Sr. - Balbir Singh Dosanjh, popularly known as Balbir Singh Senior has been a former Indian Hockey player who has represented the nation in 3 Olympic Games and won gold every time he participated in Olympics. He also coached Indian Hockey team for some time. He was the first hockey player to be awarded the Padma Shri.
- Roop Singh - Younger brother of Indian Dhyan Chand, Roop Singh was an equally talented player who let his elder brother take all the accolades. He was also the member of the winning team that won gold medals for India at 1932 and 1936 Olympic Games. After the final of the 1936 Summer Olympics, Germans were so impressed with him that they named a street after him. He was in the armed forces of the Maharaja of Scindia.
- Leslie Claudius - Leslie Walter Claudius was an Indian Hockey Player. An Anglo-Indian by origin, he holds a Guinness World Record for being part of a Hockey team to win maximum number of medals at the Olympic Games(3 gold and 1 silver). He was conferred with Padma Shri in 1971.
- Udham Singh - Udham Singh Kular, famous as Udham Singh was an Indian Hockey player known to be one of the finest Hockey players India has ever produced. Udham has been the only Hockey player in the history of the game to have been able to grab 3 Gold Medals and 1 Silver Medal in Olympic events.
The history of hockey has been outstanding in India. India has indeed seen such excellent players who have left no stone unturned in bringing glory to the Indian land. And why not, hockey is after all the national game of India. In any country, the national game is designated on the basis of the following parameters: (a) its popularity in that country; (b) the historical connect of the game with the country; (c) its long standing rich legacy for that country. In the case of India, field hockey is designated as its national game because of the phenomenal performance of Indians at the International forums in the game of hockey during the period of 1920- 1950. The credit of introducing the game of hockey to India goes to the British. It was during their Raj in India that people first came to know about this game. It was back in the year 1855 that the first hockey club came up in Calcutta. The first hockey association in India was Bengal Hockey. It was founded in the year 1908. It was back in the year 1928 that India took part in Olympics for the first time. The games were held in Amsterdam. India took its first international trip to New Zealand where they played 21 matches, won 18, lost 1 and drew 2 among them. This trip marked the emergence of the legendary Dhyanchand. Indian hockey team’s stellar performances in the Olympic Games indeed became the focal point of national pride. In the first year of participation, in 1928, Indian Hockey team won Olympic gold medal for the country. Between 1928 and 1956, the Indian Hockey Team won six consecutive Olympic Gold Medals. They further won 24 consecutive matches scoring 178 goals while conceding only 7 in their half. The members of the Olympic team during that time were Richard Allen, Dhyan Chand, Michael Gately, William Goodsir- Cullen, Leslie Hammond, Feroze Khan, Santosh Manglani, George Marthins, Rex Norris, Broome Pinninger, Michael Rocque, Frederick Seaman, Shaukat Ali, Jaipal Singh, Kher Singh Gill. This era was truly the golden era of Indian Hockey. India’s winning streak came to an end in the 1960 Rome Olympics when the team lost 0-1 to the Pakistan Hockey team in the finals. The team again won gold medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and 1980 Moscow Olympics. Actually it was after 1980s that the performance of India kept on deteriorating and India could not win medals at all. Despite the splendid Indian history in the field of hockey, the controversy of hockey being the national game of India is still running. But in August 2012, the Union ministry of Youth Affairs declared that India does not have a game that has been officially designated as its National game. This was in response to a Right to Information (RTI) filed by Aishwarya Parashar, a 10 year old girl from Lucknow. She wanted to know the exact year the government adopted hockey as the country’s national game. The Union Ministry stated that they could not find any official mandate that declared hockey as India’s national game. This indeed was a shocking response that left everyone puzzled. Alongside it questioned the integrity of the information published on the Government of India website which declares hockey as the national game.
By: Swati Kaushal and Anuja Arora
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