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SK Flashback: When Great Britain withdrew their hockey side from 1928 Olympics in fear of Major Dhyan Chand's Indian team

Mohak Arora
ANALYST
Modified 20 Dec 2019, 14:38 IST

The 1928 Indian Hockey Contingent
The 1928 Indian Hockey Contingent

The Indian hockey team's brilliance forced defending champions Great Britain to not take part in Olympics in fear of losing to a colony.

Field hockey was introduced in 1908 Moscow Olympics and made a comeback in the 1920 Antwerp Olympics after the sport wasn't included in the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. In both, 1908 and 1920, Great Britain won the gold medal with relative ease. In 1924 Paris Olympics, field hockey was again excluded from the Olympic programme.

India, a colony under Great Britain at that time, decided to field a team in field hockey in the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics. In the run-up to the Olympic Games, they played several leading club teams of London and beat them with ease before facing the England national hockey team. In that match, India won 4-0 and in fear of losing to a colony at the Olympic stage, the defending champions Great Britain decided to withdraw from the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.

Indian hockey contingent went to on to score 29 goals and concede zero goals in four matches to win the gold medals beating 8 teams to it including Belgium, Denmark, Germany and the host Netherlands.

They went on to win back-to-back gold medals in 1932 and 1936 in hockey. In a match against USA in the 1932 Olympics, Indian team beat the Americans 24-1, still the largest margin of victory in Olympics.

After the conclusion of World War II, India's independence from Great Britain's rule and Dhyanchand's retirement, Great Britain and India both fielded their teams in the 1948 London Olympics. It was defending champions India who faced the hosts Great Britain in the final and beat them 4-0, marking their dominance over the world in hockey.

It is a big thing that a team making its debut at the World Stage forced the defending champions to not even take part in the competition. Such was the brilliance of Major Dhyanchand, who is still considered to be one of the greatest forwards to have ever played the game of hockey.

Published 16 Jan 2018, 15:33 IST
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