75 years of independence, 75 iconic moments from Indian sports: No 1 - 1948 Olympics hockey gold

India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging 75 great sporting achievements by Indian athletes.

Balbir Singh Sr.

Balbir Singh Sr. in action during the 1948 Olympics hockey final match between India and Great Britain.

India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging 75 great sporting achievements by Indian athletes. Sportstar will present one iconic sporting achievement each day, leading up to August 15, 2022.

India's Olympic hockey gold in 1948

August 12, 1948: The triumph of the Indian hockey team, led by Kishan Lal and with stalwarts such as Balbir Singh Sr., Randhir Singh Gentle and Leslie Claudius, in London in 1948 was a defining moment for the newly independent country.

India won gold and retained the world title with a resounding 4-0 win over Great Britain in the final after it had emerged unscathed from the group stage with convincing wins over Austria, Argentina and Spain. India beat the Netherlands 2-1 in the semifinals.

Balbir Singh Sr. tries to score from a close range, which was brilliantly foiled by Britain's Brodie whose goalkeeping heroics reduced the margin of victory for the Indians.   -  THE HINDU ARCHIVES

 

Despite the heavy muddy turf and light rain, which fell for a considerable time during the game, the Indians outclassed the British team with the superb ball-control, accurate passing and intelligent positional play.

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Great Britain put up stern opposition but it could not cope with the lightning thrusts by the Indians. Long before half-time, it was evident that India should win comfortably. If England had had any other goal-keeper but Brodie, India might have doubled its score. He made save after save and turned India back from what appeared to be certain scores.

India had come through to the finals after a superb run in the preliminaries and the final goal-aggregate of 25 for India and 2 against them was one of the best ever achieved in Olympic hockey.

(Excerpts from an article first published in The Hindu on August 13, 1948)

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