Indian Hockey: Past Is The ‘Pinnacle’




Indian Hockey

Indian Hockey

India, the 9th ranked hockey nation in the World, made their presence felt in the international hockey circuit with a successful run to the finals of the recently held ‘Commonwealth Games’. Although they were outplayed by Australia in the final, the Indian team showed a lot of grit, energy & talent that promises a good future ahead. The match against England in the semi-finals portrayed the depth of potential in the Indian team when they beat the former by delivering a world-class performance. A lot of experts believe that India didn’t live up to its own potential in the finals.

Indians were the undisputed kings of international hockey from the very beginning. For 60 years India dominated world hockey with its own kind of skillful & fast game. In 1928, the team won its first Olympic gold medal and until 1956, the Indian men’s team remained unbeaten in the Olympics, winning six gold medals in a row. No European nation could match the Asian giants as India went on to win 8 Olympic gold medals & 2 world championships till the late 70’s. In the early years arch rivals Pakistan were the only team that could match up to Indian caliber and ‘The Netherlands’ was the only European nation to challenge Indian skills. India was untouchable till it won the 1975 world championship.

Then a big transition took place in the early 80’s .In 1983 the Indian cricket team won the world cup to everyone’s surprise. The most successful sporting moment of the nation turned out to be disastrous for hockey. At that point the lusture of Indian hockey started fading & cricket became the sport that the nation loved. The heart & passion, which was evident in Indian hockey, was lost completely & was replaced in cricket. The momentum shifted drastically at that point of time & hockey became a national sport just for the ‘namesake’.

Australia, the current World & Olympic champions, were nowhere near India as far as the quality of play was concerned. But after the 80’s debacle Australia gradually improved and now is the most dominant hockey team in the world. They never had a strong team before that & were recognized as underdogs in any tournament they participated. The Australian hockey governing body decided to change it forever & started working on player’s athletic condition and fitness. This paid off very well & the introduction of synthetic turf for playing was a blessing in disguise for their kind of athletic play. The two main elements that Australians used for their development were ‘patience’ & ‘belief’ in their players & style of play. Technical skills with unmatched athletic ability make Australia what it is today.

India never had better bodies or complicated strategies in the context of their game. Indians were kings when they played their hearts out for national pride, which went missing after the last gold medal in 1975. Many people believe that a nation that has produced players like the legendary “Major Dhyan Chand’, ‘Bargat Singh’ & ‘Dhanraj Pillai’ undoubtedly deserve a better place in world hockey today.

Legends of Indian hockey believe that the ‘heart’ Indian hockey was known for is missing & until that is restored the nation would never re-live past glory again. Dhanraj Pillai, one of the best hockey players the world has ever seen suggests that the Indian team should look back in the past & draw inspiration from the glory days.

Many teams aim at the future to reach their best but Indian hockey needs to look back in the past to reach its pinnacle.

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Akshay Kulkarni

Author:

My name is Akshay Kulkarni, 19 years old studying in M.V.L.U college. Life interests me a lot, the way it works and proves how it is bigger than anything else in the world. As a BMM student I should be observing, analyzing and interpreting what’s going around, but, I am more interested in asking why and how things are happening. I try my best to keep my personal opinions, moods and feelings away from my way of thinking as influence of these things can deviate me away from knowing the truth behind things.I have a very unique way of looking at things; I think it’s my strength and my identity. I always try to express my ideas in any form possible i.e on paper, verbally, in sounds and movies. I believe in my ideas and I am always in quest for people who are interested in understanding them rather than opposing them.

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