The greatest Indian hockey players of all time
India have had done exceedingly well in hockey. India have won 11 Olympic medals, comprising eight golds, one silver and two bronze. India have produced a few brilliant hockey players of all time. Let’s have a look.
He was nicknamed The Wizard or The Magician for his superb ball control and goal-scoring skills. He earned three Olympic gold medals in 1928, 1932 and 1936. He scored 570 goals in 185 matches internationally from 1926 to 1949. He was awarded Padma Bhushan, India’s highest civilian honour, in 1956. His birthday on August 29 is celebrated as National Sports Day in India.
He is one of the two Indian hockey players to have won three gold medals and one silver medal in Olympic events. The other Indian player is Leslie Claudius. Udham missed the chance to appear in the 1948 Olympic Games due to a finger injury or could have been the only player to represent India in five consecutive Games. He won the Arjuna Award in 1965 for his contribution towards the sport. He was the coach of the Indian team that won bronze at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.
Balbir Singh Sr.
He is considered as the sport's greatest ever centre-forward. He boasts of the record of scoring most goals in Olympic Games men’s finals. He scored five goals as India won 6-1 against the Netherlands in 1952 Olympic Games final. He has won three Olympic gold in 1948, 1952 and 1956. He was the chief coach when India won the 1975 men’s Hockey World Cup.
He is considered a modern-day great in Indian hockey. He made 339 appearances for India and scored 170 goals. He played for India in four Olympic Games, four World Cups, four Champions Trophies and four Asian Games, the only player to do so. He also served as captain, winning the Asian Games in 1998 and Asia Cup in 2003. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 2000.
Photo courtesy: Dhanraj Pillay Official FB page
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