Did Commonwealth Games Bring Indian Hockey Back On Track?


Those who observe Indian sports activities are probably amazed to examine that India’s national game isn’t always cricket, but hockey. And until about 30 years in the past, the evidence changed into there for all to see. After that, the decline turned steep. Hockey got Europeanized – the use of synthetic turf made it a far quicker game, effectively moving the emphasis from stick-paintings and artistry to speed and passing. In other phrases, health took priority over skill.

The result was the drying up of medals in international tournaments. Hockey was first featured at the Olympics in 1908, while England received it. It turned into subsequent plays within the 1920 edition; England gained that too. After that, the pre-warfare hockey golds were monopolized utilizing India – gambling beneath a British flag — in 1928, 1932, and 1936. When the Olympics resumed in 1948, India claimed the hockey gold once more, making Dhyan Chand the best participant in the sport’s history to win 4 Olympic golds.

India’s domination continued after independence, and they gained gold at the Olympics in 1952 and 1956. Pakistan, which won silver in 1956, emerged as rivals and took gold on the 1960 edition of the games. India won it in 1964, and Pakistan gained it back in 1968. The seventies saw a gold drought for both teams, although Pakistan did win silver in 1972. India’s last gold at the Olympics came within the 1980 Moscow Olympics, which the Caucasian hockey giants boycotted, as did Pakistan.

The first hockey World Cup was played in 1971. The subsequent three versions passed off in 1973, 1975, and 1978, and the event became held every four years after that. Pakistan made the inaugural cup their very own, and Holland took it in 1973. Then, India’s famous victory in Malaysia in 1975, which was the ultimate time Indian hockey stood on top of the world. Artificial turf changed into brought and has been blamed ever because of India’s decline.

HockeyBut folks who see the roots of India’s decline as a hockey superpower inside the shift to synthetic turf fail to explain why Pakistan, who played the equal form of a game with the emphasis on talent and artistry, adapted adequately to the new state of affairs and endured to dominate. In truth, Pakistan gained the following world cups in 1978 and 1982; the latter occasion hosted India. There turned into a temporary blip as Pakistan failed to win any medal on the 1986 edition. However, it collected silver on the 1990 World Cup hosted in Pakistan and gold at the 1994 edition.

India’s decline started in the 70s and Pakistan’s, many years later. Is there any training for India in this? A college of argument contends that Pakistan’s hockey become administered by their military, and the group did pleasantly after they had the navy rule. There may be a grain of reality on this, as the Pakistan team did quality inside the 1980s once they had relative political balance and army authorities under General Zia. During the identical duration, Pakistan did correctly in cricket, too.

The lesson that India can draw from Pakistan’s upward push and next fall from hockey grace is that overall performance improves when there is good administration. As amply confirmed in the commonwealth games, there’s no shortage of skills, where India came back from a two-aim deficit to win the semi-very last towards England.

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