India has been blessed with some legendary athletes the world has ever witnessed across the various field of sports.
About two decades before India shed its shackles of imperialism; our nation had already etched its name in the annals of sports history by bagging gold in Olympics for Hockey at the Amsterdam Games. India was not independent at that time, but with the help of sports, it had proved to the world that the spirit of the country was very much alive. India continued to dominate the world of sports on the global sporting map with its accomplishments. Let us rewind the clock, go back in time, and take a look at some Indian athletes from the pre-independence era.
Mohammed Salim (Football)
Mohammed Salim is hands down one of the greatest footballers India has ever produced. He began his football career by playing for the Mohammedan Sporting Club. Salim then joined the East Bengal Club in 1932 before joining Aryans Club just another year later. In 1936 Salim was signed by Celtic FC, and he became the first player from India to represent a European club after a trial in front of 1,000 club members.
Vijay Merchant (Cricket)
Vijay Madhavji Merchant was a revered cricketer from pre-independent India. In December 1933, he made his Test debut against England in Bombay. Merchant loved to bat against England, and during two tours, he successfully amassed over 4,000 runs combined, which illustrates his excellence against fast bowlers on seaming tracks.
Norman Pritchard (Track & Field)
Norman Pritchard is the first Asian athlete who bagged an Olympic medal. Pritchard was born in India to parents from Great Britain, and he emerged as the first athlete to represent India in the Olympics of 1900 in Paris. He also won two silver medals in five track and field events in the Paris Olympics.
Roop Singh (Hockey)
In the 1932’s Los Angeles Olympics, when the Indian Hockey team rolled over America and Japan like a juggernaut, Dhyan Chand and Roop Singh scored 24 of the 35 goals for India, and their tremendous performance led to them being dubbed ‘Hockey Twins’. Roop Singh further achieved the impossible by outscoring Dhyan Chand in the Olympics, scoring 13 goals to his brother’s 11
Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji (Cricket)
Kumar Shri Ranjitsinhji is the cricketer who founded the famous late cut and leg glance. He was probably the finest batsman to have played cricket during the pre-independence era. Ranjitsinhji had quick flexes, an unorthodox technique, and he introduced a new style of batting that revolutionized the game of cricket.
These sportspersons established India’s credentials as a sport-loving nation when the teams and players were still in their embryonic stage.