Independent India's finest moments at the Summer Olympics

Indian Hockey
The Indian hockey team were a dominant force in the 40s and 50s
Modified 03 Aug 2016
Top 5 / Top 10

Independent India has witnessed and participated in 17 Summer Olympics since getting freedom in 1947. In those 17 games, India has won only 21 medals (Overall India has won 26 medals since 1900) and this number is pretty low to say the least. The reasons for the low number of medals are many but I will leave that story for another day. 

With the 18th Olympics for independent India round the corner, we bring to you few of the finest moments for India in the Olympics

Disclaimer - Note that this list is no specific order and all of these moments made us Indians equally proud. Also, this list in no way undermines the achievement of the remaining medal winners, for I am sure each one of them would have worked  really hard to earn an Olympic medal. 

#6 Gold in Men’s Field Hockey, 1948 London

Although, this was the fourth time that the Indian Men’s hockey team had won a gold medal at the Olympics; the reason this win finds a mention here is because this was the first Olympics medal for independent India. The fact that the medal was earned after defeating Great Britain in the finals, a country which had ruled India for a long time, made it even more special. 

Kishan Lal led Indian team defeated the Britishers in the finals by a margin of 4-0 and star of the final was Balbir Singh Sr. who scored two of the four goals. Incidentally, Balbir Singh Sr, at the age of 91 is the oldest living Olympian in the country. 

Coming back to the tournament, the Indian team were in top form from the start. India defeated Austria and Argentina by a whopping margin of 8-0 & 9-1 respectively. In the match against Argentina, Balbir Singh Sr. scored six goals. In the quarter finals India defeated Spain 2-0 before getting past the Dutch team by a margin of 2-1. 

Interestingly, prior to the Olympics, there was a suggestion to field a joint India-Pakistan team, which of course, was rejected. This win definitely brought some smiles on the faces of the Indians who were still trying to overcome the tragedy of partition.

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Published 03 Aug 2016
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