India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging 75 great sporting achievements by Indian athletes. Sportstar will present one iconic sporting achievement each day, leading up to August 15, 2022.
Indian hockey team wins its sixth successive Olympic gold at the 1956 Melbourne Games
The Indian Hockey team, led by Balbir Singh, won its sixth successive Olympic gold medal in hockey for India (the third in a row since Independence) at the 1956 Melbourne Games after beating Pakistan scored 1-0 in the final courtesy of a solitary goal by Randhir Singh Gentle..
Balbir Singh, the Indian captain, with the members of his team behind him. acknowledging the cheers of the crowd after India had defeated Pakistan 1-0 in the final of Olympic hockey match between India and Pakistan at the Melbourne Stadium on December 6, 1956. – THE HINDU ARCHIVES
One of the country’s best hockey teams to grace the pitch, the team had the perfect balance of experience and youth. Four of the team — Balbir Singh, Randhir Singh Gentle, Leslie Claudius and Ranganathan Francis — were playing their third Olympics, while for Govind Perumal, Udham Singh, Raghubir Lal and Amit Kumar it was their second Games. There were some young guns too in the squad that had an aura of invincibility and so it turned out to be.
India cruised through the league stage, beating Afghanistan (14-0), the United States (16-0) and Singapore (6-0) in style.
However, it was tough in the semifinals but India’s brilliance guided it to a 1-0 win against Germany as Udham Singh Kullar scored the only goal of the match.
In the final again, the going was never easy as it played Pakistan. With the scores level at half-time, the Indians were encouraged with chants of “Come on, India!” from the crowd. Finally, Gentle, playing in his third Olympics, put the match beyond Pakistan’s reach with a 38th-minute strike.
(Read the full article published in The Hindu on July 11, 2012,