The Indian hockey has a synonym, but people have a trouble in recalling it. It was the 1936 Summer Olympic Games (officially known as the Games of the XI Olympiad) and what happened in practice session changed the entire course of the game.
As the event was held in Berlin, Nazi Germany, the German hockey team had an advantage of the home crowd. What the Indians didn’t want, had happened in the practice match as the Germans hammered the Indian hockey team with a margin of 4-1.
Even though it was a practise match, a man who was addicted to victory in the Indian team couldn’t take it easily. That night he couldn’t sleep. He even went on to say “As long as I live, I shall never forget this match, or get over the shock of this defeat, which still rankles me”. The man was none other than the hockey legend Major Dhyan Chand. He can be also called as the synonym for the word “hockey”.
What happened later was sheer miracle. A miracle that was created by Major Dhyan Chand. In the league stage Dhyan Chand not just ensured victory to his team but also saw that his opponents didn’t even score a single goal. Yes, the team defeated Hungary, USA and Japan quite easily.
Have a look at the victories in the League games:
- India beat Hungary 4-0
Goals scored: Roop Singh 2; Carlyle Tapsell; Shabab Ud Din Shabban 1.
- India beat USA 7-0
Goals scored: Sayed Mohommed Jaffar 2; Dhyan Chand 2; Roop Singh 2; Ernest Goodsir-Cullen 1.
- India beat Japan 9-0
Goals scored: Dhyan Chand 4; Peter Fernandes 2; Carlyle Tapsell 2; Roop Singh 1.
Haven’t the above figures given you a goose bump? After the series of victory in the league games, India had to face the French in the semi-finals. Even it was a cake’s walk as India didn’t allow the French to score even a single goal.
In the semi-finals India had defeated France by 10-0. The goals were scored by Dhyan Chand 4; Roop Singh 3; Iqtidar Ali Dara 2; Carlyle Tapsell 1.
So in the previous four matches, India had scored a total of 30 goals but didn’t let the opponents to even sniff closer to the goal post. But the final match was bit different. Yes, the boys of Dhyan Chand had to face the Germans, yet again. To make the match even heated up, the dictator Adolf Hitler was going to visit it.
But by then the entire Europe was eager on their feet to watch the magic of Dhyan Chand with his stick. “We must teach them a lesson in ball control”, with these words Dhyan Chand had motivated his boys prior to the match.
As the match commenced, Adolf Hitler had to leave the stadium halfway as Dhyan Chand and his team gave no chance to the Germans to make a comeback. Finally India had defeated the Germans 8-1.
Goals scored: Dhyan Chand 3; Iqtidar Ali Dara 2; Roop Singh 1; Carlyle Tapsell 1; Sayed Mohomed Jaffar 1.
It was after this match, Hitler had offered Dhyan Chand a senior post in the German Army to which the hockey legend had refused. Dhyan Chand was also known as The Wizard or The Magician.
Recognising his exemplary work in sports, the Government of India awarded him the third highest civilian honour of Padma Bhushan in 1956. His birthday, 29 August, is celebrated as National Sports Day in India every year. He has also to his credit winning three Olympic gold medals (1928, 1932, and 1936) in hockey.
“Dhyan Chand who once more proved himself as the best centre-forward in the World, demonstrated his worth as a great captain. Held in great esteem, affection and admiration by the players, he was the central luminary around whom the members of the team revolved”. This was what the team manager Swami Jagan Nath had to say about Dhyan Chand in his tournament report.