Sunday 31 August 2014

India's finest hour in hockey

Indian hockey's day of glory was 15th August 1936, when our hockey team defeated Germany in the Berlin Olympics finals 8-1. The team was captained by the hockey wizard Dhyan Chand.

 Soon after our hockey team landed in Germany, and before the regular tournament began, our team played a friendly match against Germany. The field was wet that day as it had rained earlier, and our players were not accustomed to playing on a wet field, and often slipped. They were beaten by the Germans 4-1 in that friendly match.

  There was consternation among our players over this defeat. Dhyan Chand sent an urgent telegram to India asking Dara to join the team. Dara had fallen sick earlier, and could not accompany the team to Germany. Despite his illness, on receiving Dhyan Chand's telegram he immediately left for Germany and joined the team.

  In the semi finals India beat France 10-0, and entered the finals to face Germany, which was the favourite to win in view of their victory over India in the friendly match.

  But soon the tables turned. The Germans knew that they had to focus on Dhyan Chand, as he was known to be the most feared Indian player. So they crowded around him to eliminate him from the game. But again and again, like the sun coming out of the clouds, Dhyan Chand would emerge out of the crowd of German players, and dribbling around them like a magician,would score a goal. Ultimately India beat Germany 8-1, Dhyan Chand scoring a hat trick, and Dara ( who later in 1948 played for Pakistan ) scoring two. It was India's finest hour in hockey, never to be repeated.

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