Can India revive the Golden Era of Hockey?
TNI Bureau: When India failed to qualify for the Hockey Event at 2008 Beijing Olympics, the entire country was shell-shocked. For the first time since 1928, India did not get a chance to play in Olympics. And, that was the biggest insult, humiliation and embarrassment for a nation, which boasts of having Hockey as its national sport at the cost of popular game cricket.
The Indian Men’s Hockey team has qualified for the London Olympics 2012 with a lot of hopes and expectations. Although it lost to Germany, Australia and Britain in the Olympics Test Event, the team has not shed its hopes of a medal. But, can India redeem its lost pride and return with a medal from London Olympics. It’s a tough task for sure.
India made its debut in Olympics Hockey in 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. And, the team won a gold medal. The gold rush continued till 1956. India won gold medals six times in a row from 1928 Amsterdam Olympics to 1956 Melbourne Olympics and won silver in 1960 Rome Olympics. India again won the gold in 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
But there was a slump after that. The country won two bronze medals between 1968 and 1976, as Pakistan and other teams moved to the top in Hockey. In 1980 Moscow Olympics, India won the gold, taking advantage of the boycott by most top countries. That was the last time India won a medal in Olympics Hockey.
We have been waiting for the last 32 years to see the Hockey Team win a medal at the Olympics. But the dream has not been fulfilled yet. Can India bounce back to win at least a bronze medal in London and revive the lost glory of Indian Hockey? Only time will tell.