history of the game of hockey has its roots well
laid in the world’s early civilizations. One
of the oldest known sports, the game is believed
to be in existence about 1200 years before the Ancient
Games of Olympia. Right from Arabs, Greeks, Romans,
Persians to Ethiopians, everyone played a variation
of the game. While some played it just for recreation,
the others were of the opinion that hockey would
make them better warriors. Even though many ancient
civilizations played hockey in different variations,
the modern game of hockey, the field hockey, developed
in the British Isles in the 19th century.
A popular English school game, hockey was introduced
in India by British Army regiments and the game
soon found to be favor among the native Indians.
Spreading internationally, the popularity of the
game was especially effervescent in India and Pakistan.
It was during this time that the London Hockey Association
was formed and the rules for playing hockey were
standardized. In 1924, the International Hockey
Federation (FIH) was formed and three years later,
the international Federation of Women’s Hockey
Hockey in India
Talking about hockey in India, the first hockey
club came up in Calcutta in 1885-86 and soon Bombay
and Punjab followed suit. Making its Olympic debut
at the 1928 Amsterdam Games, Indian hockey team
cruised home to its first Olympic gold, without
conceding a single goal. The hallmark of this ruthless
domination was the wizardry of Indian hockey legend
- Dhyan Chand, who mesmerized the Amsterdam crowd
with his dazzling skills. From 1928 to 1956, the
Indian hockey juggernaut won six straight Olympic
gold medals, while winning 24 consecutive matches.
During this time, India scored 178 goals conceding
only 7 in the process.
was the golden era of Indian hockey, when India
loomed large in world hockey and produced some of
the finest players the game has ever seen. During
this dominance, one name that clearly comes to mind
is Balbir Singh. For almost three decades, Indian
team had about five players with the same name.
The first Balbir Singh played with the great Indian
teams of 1948, 1952 and 1956. He reached the pinnacle
of success at Helsinki in 1952 when he scored five
goals in a 6-1 gold medal victory over the Netherlands.
The four later Balbir Singhs played with the later
The Indian stranglehold over the Olympic hockey
gold came to an end, when Pakistan defeated India
in the final of the 1960 Rome Olympics. However,
the record created by India is likely to stand strong
through ages, as no other country has ever managed
to come close to it, leave about beating it. Talking
about some of the legendary and outstanding players
of Indian hockey, Dhyan Chand, K.D. Singh, Dhanraj
Pillay and Dilip Tirkey are some names that come
to mind instantly. Thanks to their exceptional gaming
technique and enduring enthusiasm, the position
of India in the field of hockey achieved new heights.