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The 1948 Olympic gold medal received by the Indian males’s hockey workforce (Photograph: Balbir Singh Sr/Twitter)
A golden legacy by no means fades and the candy style of a really particular victory continues to encourage a number of future generations, as they preserve visiting the landmark days for inspiration. August 12 is one such landmark day within the historical past of Indian sports activities, when, 72 years in the past, Britishers stood up in honour of the Nationwide Anthem of a rustic they dominated however have been compelled to free in 1947. The event was the 1948 London Olympics and the achievement, India’s first Olympic gold as an impartial nation. Indian
was on a roll.
The years of three consecutive Olympic gold medals in hockey (1928, 1932, 1936) beneath the Union Jack gave technique to
‘s first triumph on the Video games; and it was the lads’s hockey workforce that continued its reign, this time beneath the captaincy of
and impressed by the chief architect of India’s victory within the remaining,
Balbir Singh Sr
Apart from Balbir Sr and captain Kishan Lal, the 1948 squad had the likes of India’s different hockey legends like Kunwar Digvijay Singh Babu, Keshav Dutt and
. From among the many 20 members of that squad, solely Dutt is alive as we speak.
Earlier this yr, on Could 25, Balbir Sr handed away on the age of 96 after a continual pulmonary sickness. However the legacy left behind by his three Olympic gold medals (1948, 1952, 1956) and his workforce won’t ever die.
“The Tiranga rose up slowly. With our Nationwide Anthem being performed, my freedom-fighter father’s phrases ‘Our Flag, Our Nation’ got here flooding again. I lastly understood what he meant. I felt rising off the bottom alongside the fluttering Tiranga,” the legend had mentioned in regards to the 1948 gold in a dialog with Timesofindia.com in 2018.
Balbir Sr, a centre-forward, scored two targets within the remaining in opposition to Nice Britain, whereas Tarlochan Singh and Pat Jansen hit the opposite two, as India beat Nice Britain 4-Zero in what was additionally the primary assembly between the 2 sides on the Olympics. This was India’s fourth consecutive Olympic gold (1928, 1932, 1936, 1948).
(Balbir Singh Sr after scoring his second purpose within the 1948 Olympics remaining)
India started their 1948 Olympics marketing campaign with a thumping 8-Zero win in opposition to Austria and adopted it up by thrashing Argentina 9-1, by which Balbir Singh Sr scored six targets. Of their final group fixture, the Indian workforce was examined by Spain earlier than successful the sport 2-0.
Within the semis, India eked out a combating 2-1 win in opposition to Holland.
The ultimate on the Wembley Stadium in London was an important day. Payback time could not have had a greater background for India: The Olympic Video games in London, males’s hockey remaining in opposition to the previous rulers, on British soil, Unbiased India’s first Olympic medal there for the taking.
All of it occurred in that order.
01:09London 1948: When hockey received impartial India’s first Olympic gold
Balbir Singh Sr, in his autobiography ‘The Golden Hat-Trick – My Hockey Days’, describes the second when the umpire blew the full-time whistle at Wembley signalling India’s win.
“After the victory, VK Krishan Menon, free India’s first Excessive Commissioner in London, who witnessed the match, got here operating to congratulate us,” he wrote.
This was Balbir Singh Sr’s first Olympic gold medal.
Extremely, Balbir Singh Sr, who was in crimson sizzling type having completed as the highest scorer for Punjab within the 1946 and 1947 Nationwide championships, was initially not picked within the squad. Former hockey legend Richard Carr, who performed for India of their gold medal-winning 1932 Olympic marketing campaign in Los Angeles, rallied for Balbir Singh’s inclusion and he was lastly picked.
(Balbir Singh Sr, sitting, throughout one among his final public appearances on the 2019 Occasions of India Sports activities Awards)
However regardless of his six targets in opposition to Argentina, Balbir Singh Sr was dropped within the subsequent match in opposition to Spain and likewise didn’t play within the semi-final in opposition to the Netherlands.
A protest by Indian college students in London, who took their grouse to the then Indian Excessive Commissioner VK Krishna Menon, compelled the workforce administration to incorporate Balbir Singh Sr for the ultimate in opposition to Nice Britain. And the remainder, as they are saying, is historical past.
On this historic day, Balbir Singh Sr’s good friend Dr. Rajendra Kalra shared among the phrases the legend had spoken in regards to the historic day throughout one among their conversations.
“He mentioned, ‘I used to be so fortunate. The ultimate was in opposition to our former rulers, and it was a matter of delight and honour that we beat them on their very own soil,” recalled Dr Kalra, who was additionally the workforce physician throughout India’s victorious 1975 World Cup marketing campaign, whereas speaking to Timesofindia.com. Balbir Singh Sr was the supervisor of the workforce at the moment.
(1948 Olympic gold-medal winners assembly Governor Basic C. Rajagopalachari)
“Balbir mentioned ‘Physician saab, it was a surreal feeling once they declared the gold goes to India, the Indian flag was hoisted and the Nationwide Anthem performed. There could not be a much bigger honour. The success that day tasted the perfect. I felt like I used to be on the highest of the world’,” Dr Kalra added.
In a submit on Balbir Singh Sr’s official Fb web page, his daughter, Sushbir Bhomia, talked about that in his previous few years, her father additionally developed a way of disappointment as to how the younger technology tends to overlook the primary greatest day in sports activities for India after independence.
“In India we’ve got a apply to have a good time many nationwide days, numerous birthdays and even bear in mind a couple of folks on the day they mentioned adieu to this world, however it’s unusual as no person remembers ‘The best day of Sports activities for Unbiased India’!” Sushbir quoted her father within the submit.
Nonetheless, former India coach Harendra Singh believes it is the responsibility of everybody related to hockey to inform the younger technology about such historic moments.
“Till we take initiatives like going to varsities and faculties and telling the scholars about our legacy and historical past, it will not occur. It is our responsibility,” mentioned Harendra, a former India participant and coach of India’s 2016 Junior Males’s World Cup-winning workforce.
On that be aware, it might maybe be greatest to conclude with how the nation’s collective euphoria for the 1948 victory has been described in Balbir Singh Sr’s autobiography.
“Bombay actually rolled out its greatest crimson carpet. It was pure, because the most variety of gamers within the workforce have been from that metropolis…We have been swept off our ft and it was right here that I realised what the victory meant to our nation, starved because it was of world class accomplishments. Hockey was the one sport that gave the nation a ray of golden hope, one thing to cheer for and have a good time.”
India Squad, 1948 London Olympics: Kishan Lal (c), Ranganathan Francis, Leo Pinto, Walter D’Souza, Tarlochan Singh Bawa, Akhtar Hussain, Randhir Singh Mild, Kunwar Digvijay Singh Babu, Keshav Dutt, Amir Kumar, Maxie Vaz, Leslie Claudius, Balbir Singh, Patrick Jansen, Latifur Rehman, Lawrie Fernandes, Gerald Glacken, Reginald Rodrigues, Grahanandan Singh, Jaswant Singh Rajput