Asian Games 2018: Indian men on the verge of new Games record for highest number of tournament goals
After battering an 86-year-old Indian record and creating a new Games record with a historic 26-0 win, the Indian men's hockey team is well on their way to surpassing yet another. The Indians currently hold the record for the highest number of goals in a single tournament which they had recorded in the 1982 Asian Games at Delhi, and are just three goals short of that magic mark.
As a matter of fact, the Indians also lead the world when it comes to the total number of goals scored in the Summer Olympic Games Field Hockey event, and currently hold the record for scoring the maximum number of goals in a single tournament, which they achieved by scoring 43 goals in the 1980 Moscow Games.
While comparing the records, let us, however, not forget that hockey today is a 60-minute game divided into 4 quarters, while prior to September 2014, the game was a longer 70-minute affair with two 35-minute halves.
Indian men and women fall short of the possible world record in spite of huge wins
The Indians defeated hosts Indonesia by a massive 17-0 margin and followed it up with an even bigger 26-0 win against Hong Kong China in the Asian Games, which are currently being held in Jakarta.
The 26-goal margin of victory is the biggest ever in the history of the Asian Games and also is the biggest ever by an Indian side. Gold medalists India had beaten the USA 24-1 in the 1932 Summer Olympics, and Harendra Singh's boys erased the record with ruthless efficiency.
In spite of the huge win, the Indians were still well short of what is possibly the biggest ever win in world hockey. Australia had beaten Papua New Guinea 35-0 in the 2007 Oceania Games, and the New Zealand Black Sticks went a step further to beat PNG 39-0 in the same tournament.
The Golden Girls annihilated Kazakhstan by a huge 21-0 margin on Tuesday, but they too fell well short of what is possibly the biggest victory margin ever achieved by a women's team. At the Oceania Games last year, the Aussie women defeated Papua New Guinea 23-0 after New Zealand had scored an incredible 33-0 win over the same PNG team a day earlier.
Revisiting 1982 - silver lining amidst the gloom
The 1982 Asian Games is best remembered in India for a couple of reasons. Firstly, it was the biggest tournament of its kind to be hosted in the country and was indeed a matter of great pride for Indian sports lovers. Alas, the New Delhi Asiad is also remembered to this day for India's shocking 1-7 defeat to Pakistan in the final of the hockey event.
Prior to the infamous decimation, the Indians in Group A had made short work of all the other teams in their group. Zafar Iqbal's side had steamrolled Hong Kong 10-0, Malaysia 5-1, Bangladesh 12-0, and Oman 10-0 in the group stages before entering the finals by beating Japan 7-2.
Pakistan too had recorded big victories, but interestingly, Group B had only four teams as opposed to Group A which had 5. The eventual champions beat China 6-0, South Korea 10-0, and Japan 12-1. In the semifinals, Pakistan beat Malaysia 2-0 before pumping in 7 goals against the Indians to record a total of 37 goals.
In spite of the huge defeat in the finals, the Indians scored 45 goals - a record which stands even today. Sreejesh's boys have already scored 42 goals in Jakarta - with three group matches still to be played, and so it is only a matter of time before they achieve the new milestone.
What is also memorable about the 1982 Games is that the Indian women won gold in field hockey. It was the first time that the women's event was introduced in the Asian Games and the Indian eves started off with a huge 22-0 win against Hong Kong and beat South Korea in the finals.
Post the New Delhi Games, there was a major shift in the power center of Asian hockey leading to the end of subcontinental domination and the emergence of South Korea who won gold at home in 1986 beating Pakistan in the final. The Indians, shockingly, had to settle for bronze, for the first time ever.
A big test begins for the Indians at Jakarta
After two huge wins, the Indian men and women will now face a much bigger test. Harendra Singh's side will face Japan tomorrow, and South Korea on Sunday. Sjoerd Marijne's chargers will clash with South Korea on Saturday.
The Indian men have beaten Japan earlier this year in the 4-nations tournament in New Zealand and the Indian A side did well against the visiting Koreans at Bangalore. The women, however, lost to South Korea in the final of the Asian Champions Trophy earlier this year, and will be keen to tilt the scales at Jakarta.