Hockey is India’s national game and the most ignored one. Despite the ever-growing popularity of cricket, Hockey has managed to still be the National Game of India. The peak time of Indian hockey team was from 1928 to 1956, when it brought all the six consecutive Olympic gold medals home that were held during those years.

The end of its glory were perhaps the result of the death of the star hero Dhyan Chand, the introduction of Astroturf (still a rarity in India) and the migration of many hockey-playing Anglo Indians to Australia. The few wins have rekindled the interest of the Indians in the forgotten game and have managed to grab a little bit of attention to the hockey sport team stars such as Dhanraj Pillay.

Hockey was chosen as the National Game because of the team’s unparalleled distinction and matchless talent at the time. During the phase, India had played 24 Olympic matches and won all of them scoring 178 goals and conceding only 7 goals. The only other achievements of the team later that are worth mentioning are the gold medal in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics and the gold medal in the 1980 Moscow Olympics. The black magic Indian touch and their ball juggling feats have become almost extinct now.

Perhaps we need better coaches, more finances and facilities and more practice on Astroturf, which has a faster surface than the grass, where Indians have to practice. It will be a good idea to train the talented children in hockey right from school level, providing them the necessary funds, training and facilities to preserve the Indian glory.

The recent loss the Indian team suffered was uncalled for going by their form and performance. Losing to Belgium was definitely disheartening for Indian hockey and its fans. What India needs to change is its approach to make a mark and gain its position internationally.

India is now up against England next at the Kyocera Stadium. Here’s hoping the India Hockey Team gets back into form and out of their ‘what if’ moment. All the Best !

–          Anjani M Nautiyal


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