‘Success that day tasted the best’: 72nd anniversary of independent India’s first Olympic Gold

Olympic 1948 Final
Olympic 1948 Final glimpses

Its was the year of 1948, India continued resign in Hockey. In the same year Independent India won its first gold. Today we are celebrating the 72nd anniversary about the first Olympic Gold.

Story of independent India’s first Olympic Gold

The gold medal came to India thrice before but it was under the Union Jack in the years 1928,1932 and 1936. This time the medal came to India was under the Tiranga or the Tri-color. the captaincy of Kishan Lal and inspired by the chief architect of India’s victory in the final, Balbir Singh Sr.

Besides Balbir Sr and captain Kishan Lal, the 1948 squad had the likes of India’s other hockey legends like Kunwar Digvijay Singh Babu, Keshav Dutt and Leslie Claudius. From among the 20 members of that squad, only Dutt is alive today.

The legacy left behind by the three Olympic gold medals (1948, 1952, 1956) and the team will never die.
“The Tiranga rose up slowly. With our National Anthem being played in the background after the win.

Balbir Sr, a center-forward, scored two goals in the final against Great Britain, while Tarlochan Singh and Pat Jansen hit the other two, as India beat Great Britain 4-0 in what was also the first meeting between the two sides at the Olympics. This was India’s fourth consecutive Olympic gold (1928, 1932, 1936, 1948).

Click here to watch a video about the victory.

Whole Team
Whole Team after winning the finals in the year 1948.

Scenario of the whole Olympics

India began their 1948 Olympics campaign with a thumping 8-0 win against Austria. Thrashing Argentina 9-1 was followed next. In their last group fixture, the Indian team was tested by Spain before winning the game 2-0. In the semis, India eked out a fighting 2-1 win against Holland.

The final at the Wembley Stadium in London was a special occasion. Payback time couldn’t have had a better background for India. The Olympic Games in London, men’s hockey final against the former rulers, on British soil, Independent India’s first Olympic medal there for the taking. It all happened in that order.

Balbir Singh Sr, in his autobiography, describes the moment when the umpire blew the full-time whistle signalling India’s win. “After the victory, VK Krishan Menon, free India’s first High Commissioner in London, who witnessed the match, came running to congratulate us,” he wrote.

This was Balbir Singh Sr’s first Olympic gold medal.

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Vedant Utikar

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