Back in the 1970s, the Indian men’s hockey team dominated the hockey world and had even won eight Olympic Gold medals. Apart from Olympic glory, this period was the only time when the Indian men’s hockey team went on to become the champions of the world by winning the 1975 World Cup. It has been four decades since the title triumph as the search for a second world title continues.
When did India win their first Hockey World Cup?
The 1975 World Cup team led by Ajit Pal Singh lifted the 1975 World Cup title by beating arch-rivals Pakistan 2-1 in the final at the Merdeka Football Stadium in Kuala Lumpur. The hockey World Cup was first introduced in1971 where India had failed to make it to the final after being beaten by Pakistan in the semi-finals. Two years later in 1973, India were one step closer to the title, but once again they fell short after losing to hosts Netherlands in the final.
The 1975 World Cup team had some great players in their ranks with the likes of Ajit Pal Singh, Aslam Sher Khan, Surjit Singh, Ashok Kumar. Despite having some great players in their ranks the mastermind behind India’s World Cup glory was none other than Indian hockey legend and three-time Olympic Gold medallist Balbir Singh Sr.
In the 1975 World Cup, India were placed in Group B alongside West Germany, Australia, England Argentina and Ghana. In the group stage, Ajit Pal Singh led side played 5 matches out of which they won 3 matches and had 1 win and 1 loss. India registered wins over England, Ghana and West Germany. They were held to a 1-1 draw by Australia while Argentina defeated them 2-1.
In the semi-final, India faced host Malaysia who played really well to take the match into extra time. In the end, it was India who won the contest 3-2 to enter the final. In the final, India faced arch-rivals Pakistan and it was the Pakistan team who took the lead. However, India levelled the score thanks to a strike from Surjit Singh. However, just a couple of minutes later, Ashok Kumar scored to give India the lead in the match. That goal proved to be the deciding goal between the two sides despite protests from the Pakistan team about the ball never crossing the goal-line.
Akshay Kumar Gold movie takes a look at India’s maiden Olympic triumph
Back in 2018, the Akshay Kumar-starring movie ‘Gold’ was released on the occasion of India’s 71st Independence day. The movie was based on India’s first gold medal in 1948 which was the country’s first participation in the Summer Olympics as an independent nation. Ahead of the movie’s release, Akshay Kumar met the ‘living hockey legend’, Balbir Singh. who was a part of the winning team. The movie proved out to be a success at the box office.
Hockey News: Team India end European tour unbeaten
Indian men’s hockey team recently completed their European tour in which they remained unbeaten against Great Britain and Germany. The PR Sreejesh-led side first played Germany, who they beat 6-1 in the first match before sharing the spoils (1-1) in the second match. In their match versus Great Britain, the men in blue first played out a 1-1 draw before beating them 3-2 recently.
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