Indians showed their unity, grit, and talent through sports despite the British tyranny and oppressive era.
The history of Indian sports is replete with examples where Indians proved their knack in various sports. Let us recall some of the most unforgettable and glorious Indian victories in the sports arena that were bagged before the country called for independence in 1947.
India’s Debut in Olympics (1900)
India made its debut in 1900 in the Paris Olympics and etched its name in the history of Indian sports. Norman Gilbert Pritchard, a British-Indian athlete, represented India in the Olympics. His athletic brilliance displayed in five competitions added his name to the Olympic medal tally in silver colours. Pritchard earned the maiden silver medals in 200m hurdle and 200m sprint events.
Great Gama’s Fight (1910)
Popularly known as the Great Gama, Ghulam Mohammad Baksh was a notable wrestler. Bruce Lee, the combat stints specialist, was inspired by him and followed his exercise routines. Gama had emerged victorious in the John Bull World Championships after a fierce and long wrestling bout with Stanislaus Zbyszko, the Polish wrestler.
The Great Eleven of Mohun Bagan Football Club (1911)
The outstanding performance of the barefoot Bengali players of Mohun Bagan in 1911 against the well-equipped East Yorkshire Regiment team was a memorable victory. They emerged victorious at the IFA Shield Tournament with an admirable score of 2-1, becoming the first Indian football club.
Phadeppa Dareppa Chaugule – The Indian Marathon Man (1920)
After the applaudable and historic win in 1911 by the Immortal Eleven, Indian athletes inherited their confidence to excel in other sports, and Phadeppa Dareppa Chaugule was one of them. Chaugule was a part of the first Indian troop sent to the 1920 Antwerp Olympics, and he acquired the 19th position in the Olympic Marathon in 2:50:45.2s. His supersonic performance made him the first Indian to participate in the prestigious marathon. The local community dubbed Phadeppa the “Conqueror of the Wind”.
The Dominance of the Indian Hockey Team (1928)
During Major Dhyanchand, the “Hockey Wizard”, the Indian National Hockey Team gained massive prominence for its consecutive gold victories in the Olympic Games. The team won the 1928, 1932, and 1936 games respectively. its dominance with a winning streak of 30-0 until 1960. They were the first Non-European team to become a part of the International Hockey Federation.
These are just a few memorable moments in the history of Indian sports, and it urged more people to gear up the quest for freedom.