Field hockey is one of the most popular games that have been played over centuries. The middle of the 19th century witnessed the modern version of the game initially played in England, where it rapidly took on and expanded throughout the British Empire. Wales and Ireland played the first international hockey match in 1895, just months before England played their first match with Ireland.
The event was first included in the Summer Olympics in 1908. Since then, it has become a regular competition in the Summer Games except for the 1924 edition. The 1924 Summer Games in Paris were canceled because of the absence of international sporting infrastructure. This led to the establishment of the hockey’s governing body called the International Hockey Federation (FIH). India is the most accomplished team in field hockey at the Summer Olympics, winning eight gold, one silver and three bronze medals. In fact, India has been a dominant force since their participation at the Summer Olympics. Under the captaincy of Jaipal Singh Munda, the team won gold at the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. From 1928 to 1956, no team was able to defeat India in the Olympics as they claimed six successive Olympic Games titles.
The downfall and steady rise of Indian Hockey
Then came a period of drought for the Indian Hockey team and its supporters. From the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, Indians couldn’t excel in the sport in the Summer Olympics. As a result, India finished outside the podium. The worst finish for India was in the 2012 London Olympics when they placed last, which was the 12th position. In the next edition too, India displayed a disappointing performance which got them eighth place in Rio 2016.
Just when everyone thought India would never be able to heal and be dominant again, Odisha signed a Rs. 100 crore deal with Hockey India after the withdrawal of Sahara India. This meant that their state government would be in charge of the sponsorship of both men’s and women’s hockey teams for five years until 2023. This contribution of Odisha to the sport paid off as both the teams showed their progress slowly but steadily.
India’s performance at the Tokyo Olympics 2020
In 2020, the pandemic stopped all the sporting events from taking place. As a result, the Tokyo Olympics was pushed from 2020 to 2021. However, the time had arrived when the Indian Hockey Team had to showcase their potential yet again at the biggest stage after being more confident than ever. Their first match was against Australia and everyone was hoping to see a close contest between the teams. But, India couldn’t live up to the expectations as they gave a dismal performance, losing to Australia by 1-7. The dreams of all the Hockey fans had shattered.
But, this Indian team wasn’t ready to give up. They fought back by winning four games to reach the quarterfinals where they defeated Great Britain. In the semis, they lost to Belgium by 2-5 and moved to the bronze medal playoff. In the third place match, Germany initially took the lead but India bounced back strongly to win by 5-4 to bring home a medal after a 41-year hiatus. The team led by Manpreet Singh scripted history after winning the bronze medal for the nation.
Occasions when Indian Hockey Team won medals at the Olympics
In 2021, Indian Hockey Team, thus, broke the 41-year-old jinx by bringing the country back to the top of the podium. We will now take a look at the instances when the Indian Hockey team won medals for the nation at the Summer Olympics from its year of participation till the latest edition.
|Position secured at Olympics
|Jaipal Singh Munda
|Los Angeles Olympics
|Lal Shah Bokhari
|K. D. Singh
|Balbir Singh Senior
|Mexico City Olympics
|Gurbux Singh and Prithipal Singh
|Ajit Pal Singh
|Los Angeles Olympics
|P. R. Sreejesh