Ace Hockey players from India who made the country proud
They are sport stars of India that very few of us know about
When talking of all the sports that are played in India, and often felt to have been part of the Indian culture for centuries, we miss out on Hockey. We know of cricket, badminton and tennis, but the game of hockey has always been famous but not much paid attention too. A true moment of glory for Hockey came in 1928 when India won its first Olympic gold, there on kick-starting an era of Indian domination in the field of hockey too.
Over the years, Indian hockey has produced remarkable players and prolific attackers. Let’ take a look at a few of the greatest hockey players of India.
If we talk about Indian hockey and not mention Dhuan Chand, it will be incomplete history. Dhyan Chand’s exceptional skill with the ball at the end of his stick and his knack of getting into scoring positions were second to none. He scored plenty of goals in his playing period, including hat-tricks in two Olympic finals. He made his Olympic debut with the Indian hockey team in 1928 and scored 14 goals en route winning the gold medal.
Balbir Singh Sr.
Balbir Singh Dosanjh, better known as Balbir Singh Sr is acknowledged as one of the best center-forwards in Indian hockey history. Overcoming some challenges he scored eight goals in two matches bringing home the Olympic hockey gold, once again, in 1948. Singh Sr. went to become India’s integral hockey player leading the Indian team to the second hat-trick of Olympic golds, scoring five goals in 1952 final, a record which stands to this day. He was awarded the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour in 1957.
He is one of the unheard heroes of the history of the Indian hockey team, but mind you Mohammad Shahid was said to be one of the most skillful hockey players ever to have emerged from the country. An attacking winger of the team, Shahid formed a great partnership with player Zafar Iqbal leading India to their eighth and final Olympic gold medal to date at Moscow 1980. This win is also India’s last Olympic medal in hockey.
His name is the first name that pops in one’s head when asked to name one Indian hockey player. Picking up the baton from his predecessor Mohammad Shahid, Pillay made his debut for the Indian hockey team in 1989. During the 1990s, it was Pillay’s burst of pace that left defenders combined with his ability to pick the perfect pass that made him one of the best attackers in international hockey. He was honoured with the Arjuna Award, which recognises performance in sports, in 1995.