Before Cricket took control over the rage in Indians, for all intents and purposes Indian Hockey was the main diversion our nation was obsessed with. Hockey was even rumored to be India’s national sport but it was declined by the Government of India. Dhyan Chand, leading the sensational Indian team in the early 20th century, the sport became even more popular.
Let’s go back in time and remember the moments of Indian Hockey which made us proud:
1. World Cup 1975
The 1975 world cup was the third edition of the men’s field hockey world championship. India took third place at the first edition in 1971 and two years later in 1973 they slightly improved as they made it to the finals before losing out to the Netherlands.
In semi-finals, they won over hosts Malaysia and defeated Pakistan in the finals. The victory was a special one as the team was prepared under the patronage of a State government.
2. Olympic Games 1980
India sent a relatively young side for the Moscow Olympics in 1980, but the team showed their talent as they went on to win the gold medal after a long gap. It was an easy situation for India, as due to the U.S-led boycott six of the strongest hockey sides— New Zealand, Australia and Pakistan, West Germany and Holland — withdrew from the Olympics.
In the final, the Indians won over the Spanish challenge and eventually ended with a overcoming win of 4-3
3. Asian Games 2014
The Indians had a purpose to perform well in this year, as those who won at the Asian Games in 2014 would get qualified automatically for Rio Olympics 2016.
After 16 years, India won the Gold medal in Asian Games men’s hockey competition and thus earned an immediate capability to the 2016 Summer Olympics hockey tournament.
4. Champions Trophy 2016
Indian Hockey team gave their best performance in recent times when they won the silver medal at 2016 Champions Trophy in the United Kingdom. They had previously won only one bronze medal at the tournament back in 1982.
The Indian team won a lot of hearts with their brave display as they held Australia to a goalless draw at the end of regular time but eventually went down in the shootout.
5. Commonwealth Games 2002 (Indian Women’s hockey team)
The Indian women’s hockey team did not have much success before this event. India defeated New Zealand in the semi-final and faced England in the final. Indian eves defeated them by a scoreline of by 3-2 at the end of the regulation time and won the gold medal.
A rare moment of glory for the women’s team served as the inspiration for the 2007 Shah Rukh Khan starring film Chak De! India.
6. Hockey World League 2015
The Indian men’s team had failed to win a single medal in a major FIH tournament for 33 years. They finally managed to break the failure when they won the bronze medal in the Hockey World League finals played in Raipur when they defeated holders the Netherlands in a tense fixture.
7. Asia Games – 1966
India joined neighbors Pakistan in the final after beating Malaysia, Sri Lanka and South Korea, The much-hyped final was always a battle of attrition with Pakistan. Those were the days when the two neighboring countries clashed in only International tournaments, and the Indians were looking to repeat their 1964 Olympics win. Balbir Singh joined the action in the second half of extra time and fortuitously scored the match winner and became an instant hero.
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