Amsterdam Hockey Olympics - 1928
The Amsterdam Games marked the debut of a Lance Naik from the Indian Army - the 'Hockey Wizard' Dhyan Chand. He had come by the sobriquet with a sensational feat in the final of the Punjab Indian Infantry tournament in the town of Jhelum. 'Come on, Dhyan! We are two goals down,' said his commanding officer. 'Do something about it.' Dhyan Chand then scored three goals in the last four minutes for his side to snatch a dramatic victory. Dhyan Chand was the favourite of all at the Amsterdam Games, dazzling spectators and critics alike.
An awe-struck Dutch journalist wrote "The Indian ball seems ignorant of the laws of gravity. One of those tanned diabolical jugglers stares at the ball intently; it gets upright and remains suspended in the air. This is no longer the game of hockey. It is a juggling turn. It is splendid." The Indian team's performance revived interest in hockey, and overnight it became a world sport.
Berlin Hockey Olympics - 1936
India was up by 6 goals in the finals. The Germans now decided to play rough. Going for Dhyan Chand, the German goalkeeper removed one of his teeth. Coming back after receiving first aid, the bare-footed Dhyan Chand instructed his team to go easy on goals. "We must teach them a lesson in ball control," he said. As the stunned crowd watched, the Indians repeatedly took the ball up to the German circle and then backpassed to dumbfound their opponents. India ultimately prevailed over Germany 8-1 in the finals to win its third successive Olympic gold medal.
The Fuhrer was very impressed by Dhyan Chand's performance in the finals. At a dinner party after the finals, Hitler offered to elevate Dhyan Chand to the rank of a Colonel if he migrated to Germany. Dhyan Chand turned down the offer.
This was to be the last Olympics of 'Hockey Wizard' Dhyan Chand. World War II intervened to prevent any more Olympic appearances of the hockey immortal. Dhyan Chand is to hockey what Bradman is to cricket and Pele is to soccer. Dhyan Chand scored over a thousand goals in a career spanning 1926 - 1948.
The ultimate tribute was paid to him by a sports club in Vienna, which built a statue of Dhyan Chand with four hands and four sticks. To those Viennese, no ordinary man with two hands and one stick could have played so well. Every age produces its own genius. But the only hockey wizard of the 20th Century has been Major Dhyan Chand, the king among centre-forwards.
London Hockey Olympics - 1948
The captain of the
Balbir Singh Sr. went on to win two more Olympic gold medals, and manage the World Cup winning Indian team at Kuala Lumpur in 1975. His well-known autobiography is 'The Golden Hat Trick'. He presently resides in
The team returned by ship to
Bollywood movie "Lagaan" may be fictional however on other hand as early as 1845, Cricket got started to be played between the Indian & European Sepoys
Parsis were the first one to establish a cricket club in India. In 1848, they established "Oriental Cricket Club"
1875 saw the creation of all-white Gymkhana clubs. It is the same club that once refused admission to Ranjit Singhji, who later on became the first Indian to play Test Cricket for England in the year 1896
Just within a year's time, he went on to become the Wisden Cricketer of the year in 1897.
If records are to be set straight, he is still the one to have amassed maximum runs in a single year in the history of cricket - 2780 runs in 1899. This is still the highest aggregate ever made
1912-13 saw the emergence of Muslims in Cricket. With the establishment of Muslims, now the Indian cricket had become quadrangular.
It was in 1932 that India played its first official international match against England; Remember it was the same year when Indian Air Force came into existence with the formulation of Air Force Act. Earlier it used to be called as "Royal Indian Air Force"
Following the legacy of Ranjit Singhji was CK Nayudu, who went on to become second Indian to be the Wisden Cricketer of the Year in 1933.
His most memorable innings was 153 in Bombay in 1926 against MCC with 11 6's & 13 4's. He was later nicknamed as "Hindu Bradman".
Until this time, cricket was still played in India by religion & castes & matches would happen amongst various clubs like Parsi club, Gymkhana allwhites, Hindu & Muslim clubs.
1935 saw the first Ranji Trophi being played in India, named after legendary Ranjit Singhji.
It was in 1983 that India won its first & only cricket world cup under the captaincy of Kapil Dev. History followed with the Indian Team wining the T20 world cup in the year 2007.
1937 was the year when the All India Foodball Federation (AIFF) was established
India played its first major tournament in the year 1948 in London Olympics but failed miserably; It was during this time that India lost to France 2-1 playing barefoot however was applauded for their sporting spirit
Post 1948 until 1962 was the time that can really be called as the Indian Football's Golden Period where Indian team won the first Asian Games in 1951. In the subsequent year they won the Quadrangular Cup at Colombo.
India then went on to win 3 further editions of Quadrangular Cup in 1953, '54 & '55. In 1954, they held the second position in the Asian Games.
The best of all wins can be regarded as the one in 1956 Olympic Games where they stood fourth position (Best ever standing of the Indian football team). Remember India was the first Asian team to reach the semi-finals of the Olympic games ever in Football while Neville D'Souza becoming the first Asian to hit a hatrick in the Olympics.
In 1958, India stood fourth in the Asian games. 1962 got the glory back with India winning the finals in the Asian Games.
India also won a number of editions of Merdeka Cup.
Eventually 1970 was almost the last piece of India's best play where they stood third in the Asian Games. India did win the inaugural SAARC games & couple of SAF gold medals however hence then Indian team has never been able to make a Big impact in the international arena.