Field Hockey is one of the most popular sports in India. In fact, India is the most successful team in field hockey at the Summer Olympic Games with eight gold, one silver, and three bronze medals. The nation was a dominant force in the sport from 1928 to 1980. However, they couldn’t continue their supremacy in the upcoming editions. However, after a 41-year hiatus, India finally managed to reach the top of the podium with their bronze medal win at the Tokyo Olympics 2020. Since then, the sport is slowly but steadily getting back on track and also receiving support and encouragement from the people.
Although the Indian men’s hockey team bringing glory back to the nation was one of the highlights of Tokyo 2020, the Indian women’s team beating Australia in the quarter-finals gave every Indian hockey fan goosebumps and happiness to the core. The Rani Rampal-led side scripted history by qualifying for the first-ever semi-finals in the Olympic Games. Australia got multiple chances in the quarter-final match, but couldn’t capitalize on them. This resulted in India winning the game by 1-0, courtesy of the goal scored by Gurjit Kaur in the 22nd minute.
Women athletes who have captained team India in field hockey in the Olympics
At the Summer Olympics in 1980, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) held the first-ever women’s Olympic field hockey competition. The tournament followed the round-robin format. As a result, the top two teams advanced to the title game. In the same year, the Indian Women’s Hockey Team participated in their first Olympic games held in Moscow. Team India, which was led by Rupa Saini, one of the well-known Saini Sisters of Patiala, finished fourth in the competition, just missing out on a podium finish. Besides Rupa, her sisters Prema and Krishna Saini also competed for the Indian women’s hockey team. Another unknown fact related to Rupa is that she was the manager of the Indian team that clinched the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2002.
Since that time, the women’s hockey team has had to wait a very long time to earn a spot in the upcoming Olympics. It took 36 years for the Indian Women’s Hockey Team to qualify for the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. The team’s comeback to the Summer Games was led by Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam, who served as the captain. She represented the team as a halfback. However, the team lost to higher-ranked opponents, including eventual champions England, and came in last in their pool. However, qualifying for the Olympics after such a long gap was itself an emotional moment for hockey fans.
We will now take a look at the women athletes who have led the Indian team during the Summer Olympics.
Date of Birth|
India’s Rank in the edition|
Sept 02, 1954|
Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam|
Feb 25, 1992|
December 04, 1994|