On this day: Dhyan Chand shines in Berlin as India bags third straight Olympic hockey gold

On this day in 1936, India clinched its third successive Olympic hockey gold medal after having first won the trophy at Amsterdam in 1928 and retained it at Los Angeles and Berlin.

A packed stadium during the hockey final between India and Germany in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.   -  The Hindu Archives

For the third time in succession the Olympic hockey title has been won by India. India first won the trophy at Amsterdam in 1928 and retained it at Los Angeles and Berlin.

The victory over Germany is significant. Hockey on the continent had made big strides in recent years and nations were vying with one another to wrest the laurels from the holders. Germany, in particular, were all earnestness and determination to have the single honour of beating the champion nation, having the advantage of their own grounds and climate. A proof of their determination is afforded by the fact the German team which played the final had assiduous practice together for the last two years.

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But the Indian team demonstrated that they were still the leading nation of the world and that in points of brainy movements, deft passing, team work, speed and finish, they have nothing to learn from any other country but really had many valuable lessons to give. The margin of their victory allows no room for argument.


There was tense excitement when the curtain was lifted for the final this morning. The Olympic hockey stadium had a capacity crowd. It is estimated that at least 20,000 spectators paid for admission and there should have been a greater attendance, had not hundreds been refused admission for want of accommodation.

The game was packed with thrilling incidents. Fears were entertained, if the ground, which was waterlogged last evening owing to a heavy downpour, would have recovered sufficiently and whether the weather would at least be kind this morning. The fears gave way to" optimism when the sun came out brilliantly from early in the morning. But the turf was yet soft.


Following up and down exciting hockey, India scored in the 32nd minute, Dhyan Chand netting off Jaffar's centre, a clever goal. Before this India scored once, an apparently good goal, but Dhyan Chand was pulled up for off-side. The Indian team led by one goal to nil at the interval.

In the second spell, India outplayed the Germans, who had only three openings which Allen saved well. In the 8th minute, Tapsell scored the second goal off a short corner. In the next minute, Dhyan Chand with a solo effort scooped into the net.

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Dhyan Chand again netted in the next minute getting the fourth goal. Six minutes later, Weiss reduced the margin. The goal was scored palpably from an off-side position. Straight from the bully Jaffar ran and scored the fifth goal in the 21st minute. Six minutes afterwards, Dara scored the sixth and seventh goals. In the last minute, Dhyan Chand got the eighth and last goal for India.


The game was played at a fast pace, despite the dampness of the ground. The Germans undercut and lifted the ball, but the Indian team countered by brilliant half-volleying and amazing longshots. Twice Dara attempted to score but was declared offside. '

Dhyan Chand discarded his stockings and spiked shoes and played with bare legs and rubber soles, and became speedier in the second half.

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The vigorous German attacks were brilliantly saved by Allen and Tapsell. The goal scored by Weiss was the only goal scored against the Indians throughout the tournament. The Germans were tired towards the close.

The whole Indian team put up a splendid display. Dhyan Chand and Dara impressed by their combination, Tapsell by reliability and Jaffar by his tremendous bursts of speed.

H. H. the Maharaja and the Maharani of Baroda personally congratulated the team.


India: Allen; Tapsell and Hussain; Nirmal, Cullen and Galibardy; Shahabuddin, Dara, Dhyan Chand, Roop Singh and Jaffar.

Germany: Drose; Kemmer and Zander; Gerdes, Keller and Schmalix; Huffman, Hamel, Weiss, Scherbart and Messner.

This article was first published in The Hindu on Aug. 16, 1936)

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