National game of India

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Written By Santana

Unveiling India's Treasures from the eyes of an insightful author

National game of India

Hockey isn’t the national sport of India, but it should be. This article aims to provide insight into the history of hockey in India and its significance in promoting India’s image in the Olympics.

The Origin of Sports In India:

From The Ancient Chaturanga Till Modern Cricket

  • Sports have a long history in India, dating back to the Vedic Era.
  • Badminton (Poona) is thought to have originated in India as an adult version of the popular English children’s game Battledore and Shuttlecock.
  • Kabaddi is a popular sport that originated in ancient India.
  • Wrestling (Malla-Yuddha) is thought to have started in the fifth millennium BC.
  • Malla Purana was the Indian encyclopedia dedicated to Malla Yudha. It was the forerunner of contemporary wrestling and was invented in the 13th century.
  • Chess (chaturanga), snakes and ladders, and playing cards are all games that originated in India and were later updated and spread over the world.
  • In India, the British Era aided the growth of sports such as cricket and hockey.

Introduction of Hockey in India:

The British taught Us, and We conquered the world

Hockey, which was introduced into the Indian army during British control, captivated the populace to such an extent that India won a hat trick of gold medals not once but twice. Bet in real-time with การพนันกีฬาสดของ UFABET.

India became a hockey superpower in the twentieth century. From its 1928 Olympic debut, the Indian Hockey team dominated the game for nearly six decades, capturing eight gold medals.

India is the first team in Olympic history to have won six consecutive gold medals. The club scored a whopping 178 goals while surrendering just seven during this time. No other team in the world has come close to matching this level of dominance.

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Indian Hockey Team at Tokyo Olympics, 2021:

Waited For 41 Years & Ended In Style

None of the current team members were born when India last won an Olympic medal in hockey, and Indian hockey coach Graham Reid (Australian) had yet to begin his playing career.

The most prosperous nation in Olympic hockey history has been without a medal for 41 years.

The wait was finally over, and it was beautiful. India roared in joy after rebounding from a 3-1 deficit to upset Germany 5-4 and win Olympic bronze.

The sequence that leads to India winning the Bronze medal:

  • Timur Oruz put Germany ahead with a deflected goal in the second minute of the first quarter at the Oi Hockey Stadium.
  • Their midfielders’ shots were saved by goalkeeper Parattu Raveendran Sreejesh.
  • India’s Simranjeet Singh equalized in the second quarter before Germany’s Niklas Wellen seized the lead.
  • Benedikt Furk scored a 3-1 lead into an uncontested net after India lost possession.
  • Hardik Singh scored on the first penalty corner, followed by Harmanpreet Singh on the second.
  • At half-time, the score was 3-3.
  • In the first minute of the third quarter, India got a penalty stroke, which Rupinder Pal Singh converted to make the score 4-2.
  • Three minutes later, Simranjeet scored his second goal of the game, bringing the score to 5-3.
  • Germany’s Lukas Windfeder added another goal in the fourth quarter, but India won the match 5-4 to claim the bronze medal.

As a consequence of goalkeeper PR Sreejesh’s performance, India earned its 12th Olympic medal in men’s hockey.

Achievements of India at the Olympics

It’s Just The Beginning

Norman Pritchard, a single athlete, represented India at the 1900 Olympics, winning two silver medals. In 1920, India sent its first national team to the Olympics and has participated in every Summer Olympic Games since then. Since 1964, India has also competed in several Winter Olympic Games. India has won 35 Olympic medals in total. In the 1928 Olympic Games, India earned its first gold medal in men’s field hockey. Abhinav Bindra became the first Indian to win an Olympic gold medal as an individual, and India’s first gold medal since the Indian Hockey Team won gold in 1980.

Since 1900, India has won 35 medals at the Olympics (16 bronze, 9 silver, and 10 gold). The men’s hockey team has earned eight of them.

Tokyo Olympic medals

Medals Won by Indian Hockey Team –Till 2021

Indian Hockey Men’s TeamGoldAmsterdam 1928
Indian Hockey Men’s TeamGoldLos Angeles 1932
Indian Hockey Men’s TeamGoldBerlin 1936
Indian Hockey Men’s TeamGoldLondon 1948
Indian Hockey Men’s TeamGoldHelsinki 1952
Indian Hockey Men’s TeamGoldMelbourne 1956
Indian Hockey Men’s TeamSilverRome 1960
Indian Hockey Men’s TeamGoldTokyo 1964
Indian Hockey Men’s TeamBronzeMexico City 1968
Indian Hockey Men’s TeamBronzeMunich 1972
Indian Hockey Men’s TeamGoldMoscow 1980
Indian Hockey Men’s TeamBronzeTokyo 2021

Famous Hockey Players In History:

The Legends Of Indian Hockey Team

  • Dhyan Chand

He is considered to be the greatest field hockey player ever. Major Dhyan Chand was called the “Hockey Wizard” for his incredible ability to handle the puck.

His abilities with the ball at the end of his stick were unmatched, and his ability to get himself in scoring positions resulted in a spate of goals, including hat-tricks in two Olympic finals.

Dhyan Chand made his Olympic début in 1928 with the Indian hockey team, scoring 14 goals on route to winning the gold medal.

Dhyan Chand would go on to win two additional gold medals in subsequent Olympics, the latter as captain, completing a hat-trick of Olympic gold medals and retiring with an unblemished Olympic record.

Dhyan Chand with the ball vs. France in the 1936 Olympic semi-finals - National game of India
Dhyan Chand with the ball vs. France in the 1936 Olympic semi-finals
  • Balbir Singh Sr

1956- Melbourne Olympic Victory Ceremony
1956- Melbourne Olympic Victory Ceremony

Indian hockey was looking for a new hero to lead them ahead when the Olympics resumed in 1948 after a two-year hiatus due to WWII.

Balbir Singh Sr. is largely regarded as one of the best center-forwards in hockey.

He scored eight goals in two games to win Olympic gold in hockey in 1948, overcoming internal politics.

Balbir Singh Sr. would go on to lead India to a second Olympic gold hat-trick in the 1952 final, scoring five goals, a record that stands today.

He received the Padma Shri, India’s fourth-highest civilian accolade, in 1957. Balbir Singh Sr. was the head coach and manager of the Indian hockey team when they won the lone men’s Hockey World Cup in 1975.

At the age of 96, the legend passed away in May 2020, but he left a lasting legacy.

  • Mohammad Shahid

Mohammad Shahid, an unknown figure in Indian hockey history, was claimed to be one of the country’s most skilled players.

Shahid made his Indian junior hockey debut in 1979 and rapidly established himself as the team’s lynchpin. Shahid, an attacking winger, led India to its eighth and last Olympic gold medal in 1980, alongside Zafar Iqbal.

It was India’s final Olympic hockey medal. Baskaran, the 1980 Olympic gold medalist, praised Mohammad Shahid’s ability and usefulness to the team.

The Varanasi child went on to become one of India’s best hockey players, winning a bronze medal at the Asian Games in 1986. A liver disease took Shahid’s life in 2016.

  • Dhanraj Pillay

The first hockey player to get the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award (2000). Pillay, noted for his burst of pace that left opponents in his wake, along with his ability to choose the right pass, became one of the top forwards in international hockey in the 1990s. In 1995, he received the Arjuna Award for athletic performance.

After a 32-year hiatus, he led India to their first Asian Games gold in 1998 and their first Asia Cup gold in 2003. During his prime, Pillay was one of the fittest players, having competed in four Olympics, four World Cups, four Asian Games, and four Champions Trophy events, before retiring in 2004 after a 15-year international career.

  • PR Sreejesh

The veteran goalkeeper had to wait a long time to make his senior national team debut, but a fantastic performance in the 2011 Asian Champions Trophy, where he saved two penalties against Pakistan to win the tournament, propelled him to a first-choice position.

PR Sreejesh has established himself as one of the best goalkeepers in the world since then, thanks to his outspoken leadership and remarkable shot-stopping talents. PR Sreejesh previously captained the Indian hockey team and returned to the team after overcoming a career-threatening injury in 2017.

In 2020, he was a crucial figure in the Indian hockey team’s first FIH Pro League campaign, leading them to four victories, two of which came in penalty shootouts, and his performance helped India win a medal at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.

Management/Associations Of Indian Hockey:

The backbone of Indian Hockey

The first entity to be founded in India for the purpose of managing Indian hockey was the Calcutta Hockey Club.

The club was created in 1885-86 as India’s first hockey club, and shortly thereafter, two further clubs were organized in locations such as Bombay and Punjab.

Bengal also formed India’s first hockey association, which was titled Bengal Hockey. Within the next few years, several other hockey organizations were created in the state, including those in Mumbai, Bihar, Odisha, and Delhi.

The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) was founded in 1925 and was the primary governing body for hockey in India. Apart from the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and the state and district hockey organizations, another organization is responsible for the administration of Indian hockey.

Hockey India is the country’s new governing organization for field hockey. It was founded following the IOA’s dismissal of the Indian Hockey Federation in 2008.

HOCKEY INDIA (HI) is now the country’s apex organization, with the exclusive mission to oversee and manage all activities pertaining to men’s and women’s hockey in India.

The Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports of the Government has recognized it as a National Sports Federation of India according to letter no. F.No.32-14/2013-SP-III on February 28, 2014, as the single organization charged with the responsibility of promoting hockey in India.

It is also associated with the International Hockey Federation (FIH), the Indian Olympic Association (IOA), and the Asian Hockey Federation. It was founded on May 20, 2009 (AHF).

Hockey India has developed a Long-Term Development Programme (LTDP) with the assistance of the Sports Authority of India, the Department of Sports, the Government of India, and all other State and District Associations. The LTDP aims to train players and provide overseas exposure in addition to regular international competition. Additionally, the IHF and State Hockey Associations are responsible for the management of Hockey stadiums in India.

Modern Hockey aka Field Hockey

Know more about the game

Field Hockey is an eleven-a-side game played on a 100-yard-by-60-yard pitch using a 23-centimeter-circumference ball.

Each player is equipped with a stick with a rounded head and the purpose is to score goals by placing the ball in the opposing team’s goal.

Sticks range in length from 28 to 39 inches and weigh between 340 and 790 grams.

For goalkeepers, protective equipment includes full body armor, pads, gloves, kickers, and a helmet, while outfield players wear shin guards and mouth guards.

A goal is scored when a player from within the 16-yard area slams the ball between the goalposts and over the goal line.

The player’s stick must be used to strike the ball, and any use of the player’s body is considered an offense.

At the conclusion of the game, the team with the most goals wins. Each game is made up of two 35-minute halves separated by a five-minute intermission. If the scores remain level after 70 minutes, the game is declared a draw.

Field hockey at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics – Boys Preliminary Round – MAS-ARG (141)
Field hockey at the 2018 Summer Youth Olympics – Boys Preliminary Round – MAS-ARG (141)

The Rules

  • Each team is comprised of 11 players plus six substitutes;
  • Each player is issued a single-sided hockey stick with which to whack the ball. A goal is scored when the ball is struck into the opponent’s goal from within the sixteen-yard area.
  • The ball must be passed or dribbled solely with the stick; no other part of the body may come into purposeful touch with the ball.
  • A foul or an infringement occurs when a player commits one.
  • Strikes the ball away from another player on purpose in an attempt to hurt that player.
  • With the assistance of a physical component intentionally moves or stops the ball.
  • Strikes the ball with the rounded side of their hockey stick.
  • Raise their stick above their waist level.
  • Interfere with play by swiping the stick of their opponent.

Some Interesting Facts About Hockey:

  • Dhanraj Pillai is the first Indian to have represented his country in four Olympic Games, four World Cups, four Champions Trophy appearances, and four Asian Games.
  • The men’s team of India won its first Olympic gold medal in 1928 and remained unbeaten in the Olympics until 1956, winning six gold medals.
  • In 1928, the Indian hockey team became the first Indian sports team to visit Australia/New Zealand, Europe, and Japan/USA (1932).
  • In 1928, India became the International Hockey Federation’s first non-European member (FIH).
  • Men’s hockey has the quickest swing speed of any sport, clocking at over 103 miles per hour.
  • Hockey is the world’s second most popular sport (after football/soccer).
  • Hockey is one of the world’s oldest team sports, dating all the way back to the classical Greek Era approximately 3000 years ago. In 1700, the modern game of hockey was invented in Scotland.
  • Over 3 million people in over 100 countries participate in hockey.
  • Field Hockey is the national game of Pakistan


Hockey Vs Football Vs Cricket:

A brief comparison

Numerous sports are similar, deriving from a common ancestor. Although football, field hockey, and cricket do not appear to have originated from the same source, these widely popular outdoor games have a few similar characteristics. Each team’s objective is the same: to outscore the opponent squad. Even though they have some commonalities, each game has its own set of equipment and playing time.

Field Structure:

The field is commonly referred to as the “pitch” in hockey and football, whereas the cricket pitch is the central strip of ground between the wickets that is utilized for batting and bowling.

  •  Hockey

The field measures 100 yards (91.4 meters) in length and 60 yards (55 meters) in width, with a centerline and two 25-yard lines surrounding it.

  • Football

A pitch must be between 100 and 130 yards (90 and 120 meters) in length and 50 to 100 yards (45 to 120 meters) in breadth (90m).

  • Cricket

The cricket pitch measures 22 yards/20.12 meters in length and 10 feet/3.05 meters in width. The diameter is normally between 137 and 150 meters (450 and 450 feet) (500 ft).

Team Structure:

  • Hockey

Field hockey, also called hockey, outdoor game played by two opposing teams of 11 players each, who use sticks curved at the striking end to hit a small hard ball into their opponent’s goal.

  • Football

Football is a game involving two teams of 11 players who try to maneuver the ball into the other team’s goal without using their hands or arms.

  • Cricket

Cricket is played with a bat and ball and involves two competing sides (teams) of 11 players. Two sets of three sticks, called wickets, are set in the ground at each end of the pitch. Across the top of each wicket lies the horizontal pieces called bails. The sides take turns at batting and bowling (pitching); each turn is called an “innings” (always plural). Sides have one or two innings each, depending on the prearranged duration of the match, the object being to score the most runs.

Equipment & Kits:

  • Football

A football ball is an air-filled sphere with a circumference of 68–70 cm (27–28 in) and a weight of 410–450 g (14–16 oz). Leather or “other suitable material” is used to cover the frame.

Clothing and equipment: a shirt (also known as a jersey), shorts, socks, football boots, and shin pads (optional). Instead of shorts, goalkeepers are permitted to wear tracksuit bottoms as opposed to shorts.

  • Hockey

A hockey ball is a spherical object made of solid plastic that is used in hockey. A hockey ball is extremely hard, and in rare situations, it may contain a cork core as part of its construction. Unlike a soccer ball, a lacrosse ball is made entirely of solid rubber.

Shirts, shorts, and other personal items, A hockey stick, a mouth guard, and a shin guard are all recommended. Goalkeepers are permitted to wear knee pads and helmets during games.

  • Cricket

In the game of cricket, the common ball is a hard, solid ball that is used to throw and catch the ball in the air. A cricket ball is made out of a cork core that has been coiled with string and then a leather cover that has been sewed on.

Stump – The stumps are made up of three vertical posts that support two bails on either side. In most cases, the stumps and bails are constructed of wood, most often ash, and they come together to form a wicket at each end of the pitch.

Personal equipment includes batting pads, thigh pads, abdominal guard, chest guard, cricket bat, batting gloves, elbow guard, helmet, and other protective gear.

Playing Time:

  • Hockey

A hockey game consists of two 35-minute halves separated by a five- to ten-minute intermission. A timeout is called only in the event of an injury.

  • Football

Football matches typically last 90 minutes and is divided into two 45-minute halves, as represented in the diagram. Half-time is a 15-minute intermission in the middle of a game that is referred to as ‘half-time’ in the sport. Exceptions to this rule include youth games and games involving extra time and/or penalty shootouts.

  • Cricket

ODI cricket in which each team is given a set number of overs, currently 50, and the game can run up to eight hours. Within the five days available for a Test match, there are typically three major sessions to attend.

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