Tracing Indian men’s hockey team’s journey at the Olympics

No country has dominated one sport for such a long time as India has done in men’s hockey at the Olympics. After losing to Pakistan in the final of the 1960 Rome Olympics, India reclaimed the gold medal in Tokyo in 1964 and finished on top at the Olympics for the eighth time at the Moscow Olympics in 1980.

From 1928 till 1956, India won gold in six Olympics in a row. They did not lose a single match during this period and conceded very few goals. So strong was the Indian team that Great Britain, did not participate in Olympic Games hockey since India started participating in 1928 at Amsterdam so as to avoid the ignominy of losing to the people they were ruling at that time. Great Britain started participating in hockey again from 1948 onwards.

The golden era came to an end in the 1976 Olympics when India failed to qualify for the semifinals for the first time. It was a huge disappointment, as India were the reigning world champions at that time, having won the title a year before in 1975 at Kuala Lumpur.

Though India won the gold medal in the 1980 Moscow edition, the field was hugely depleted because of the boycott of the Games by the Western bloc led by the United States.

The slide continued in the next few Games and for the first time in the history of the sport and the Olympics, India failed to qualify for the Olympics in 2008.

However, with their fortunes on the upswing in the last three-four years, the Indian men’s hockey team is again being talked about as medal contenders at the Tokyo Olympics.

Here we trace the Indian men’s hockey team’s journey at the Olympics.