The last time the Olympics happened in Tokyo, Harbinder Singh realised his dream of winning a gold and the former Indian hockey center-forward is hoping that Manpreet Singh and his men will recreate history when the Japanese city hosts the Games next year.
Indian hockey has a rich history in the Olympics, having won an unprecedented eight gold medals, besides one silver and two bronze medals.
But India’s last success at the quadrennial event came 40 years ago in the 1980 Moscow Olympics, where it won the last of its eight gold medals.
Singh, who also won bronze medals at the 1968 Mexico games and the 1972 Munich Games apart from the coveted gold at the 1964 Games, said next year’s Olympics is an opportunity for the Indian team to again achieve the highest honour.
“Now after more than half a century, the Olympics is again taking place in Tokyo where I saw my dream come true with the Indian Team winning the Gold Medal,” the 77-year-old wrote in a column for Hockey India (HI).
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“I feel it would be a great opportunity for our team to repeat this history in the same place by winning a Gold Medal and make it as memorable as it was for us in 1964.”
Singh, who also won a gold and a silver at the Asian Games in 1966 and 1970, also recalled the high-octane summit clash against Pakistan at the Tokyo Games.
“It was a very memorable match and a very thrilling one for me personally because it was my first Olympic Games. Winning a Gold Medal in my first Olympics was surely a great feeling,” he said.
“It was a tense final and the Umpire had warned both teams that if there were to be any foul during the course of the match, then the player would be given a red card and he would be out of the match.”
India went into the final after beating Belgium (2-0), Germany (1-1 draw), Spain (1-1), Hong Kong (6-0), Malaysia (3-1), Canada (3-0) and Netherlands (2-1) in the league matches. In the semifinal, India had defeated Australia (3-1).