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75 years of independence: Iconic moments from Indian sports – Indian hockey team wins gold at 1956 Melbourne Olympics

India will complete 75 years of Independence this year. Here is a series acknowledging greatest sporting achievements by Indian athletes.

Indian hockey team wins its sixth successive Olympic gold at the 1956 Melbourne Games

The Indian hockey team, coached by Balbir Singh, defeated Pakistan 1-0 in the championship game thanks to a single goal scored by Randhir Singh Gentle. This was the team’s sixth consecutive Olympic gold medal in hockey for India (and the third straight after Independence).

The team had the ideal ratio of youth and experience, making it one of the best hockey teams to ever grace the field in the nation. Ranganathan Francis, Leslie Claudius, Balbir Singh, and Randhir Singh Gentle were all competing in their third Olympics, while Govind Perumal, Udham Singh, Raghubir Lal, and Amit Kumar were competing in their second. There were some young guns too in the squad that had an aura of invincibility and so it turned out to be.

India’s campaign

India easily defeated Singapore (6-0), the United States (16-0), and Afghanistan (14-0) during the league stage.

Although it was difficult, India’s brilliance helped it defeat Germany 1-0 in the semifinals thanks to a goal by Udham Singh Kullar.

Again, the final was difficult because Pakistan was involved. At halftime, with the scores tied, the fans supported the Indian team with ‘Come on, India!’ chants. With a goal in the 38th minute, Gentle—playing in his third Olympics—put the game beyond Pakistan’s reach.


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