Autobiography of Hockey Wizard Dhyan Chand
Published by Sport & Pastime, Chennai, 1952
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The Early Rounds
|We played our first Olympic
match against Hungary on August 5, which we won 4-0.
The Hungarian defence was excellent, and their goalkeeper was instrumental in keeping the score low.
After the match we were invited by the Maharaja and Maharani of Baroda to the Hotel Adlon. The Afghan team was also there and we had an enjoyable time.
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hile we were in Berlin, a point was raised before the International Hockey Federation (FIH) that the Indian team was not composed of all amateurs. They posed the question: How could a player be away from his country and place of work for more than five months at a stretch if he is an amateur? Were the players being reimbursed for the pecuniary losses they were supposed to suffer? They gave the example of our 1935 six-month tour of New Zealand.
We succeeded in convincing the authorities that the players were on leave with or without pay, and that the IHF did not reimburse us in any way except meeting our normal expenses. According to my information, Mr G. D. Sondhi was responsible for convincing the FIH gods about the bona fides of our players.
We started practice games the day after our arrival in the Olympic Village. The Olympic Stadium, or the Reich Sports Field as it was called, was a magnificient affair. The various grounds were arranged in series, one after another. It surpassed any of the previous Olympic stadia I had seen.
On July 17 we faced a German international side in a practice match. It was played in Berlin and we lost by one goal to four. As long as I live, I shall never forget this match or get over the shock of defeat which still rankles in me. Hitler's Germany had made great strides in their game.
The Hindu's Special Correspondent wrote, "The visitors played their first training match on Friday against a German Olympic team, and were badly beaten. The result of this match was not to be counted as it was a private match for the purposes of the Indian team's training. Nevertheless, it appeared to the Indian team that German hockey had improved immensely, and with no regular inside-right, and with Masud not playing in his usual form, it will be anybody's game if India meets Germany in the final. The members of the team were therefore insistent that an inside-right be flown in from India, and also Pinniger. This was the reason why an S. O. S. was sent to India."
The result of the play shocked us so much that we could not sleep that night. Some of us even did not have our dinner. At night Pankaj Gupta, Jaffar and myself went into a conference, in which Jagannath also joined. We were unanimous that a substitute be obtained in place of Masood.
That same night Gupta rushed to Berlin and sent a cable to Kunwar Sir Jagdish Prasad, president of the IHF, asking him to send Dara, failing whom Frank Wells or Eric Henderson, and also Pinniger. We decided that if Pinniger was not available, Cullen of Madras should be posted as centre-half and not Masood. This we did until Dara arrived just a day before we played France in the semi-finals.
We played 8 practice matches before taking the Olympic field. For one of the practice matches, we travelled to Stettin, a Baltic seaport. We had one more against Afghanistan, which had the veteran Yusuf as the captain and also included his son Asif.
We played our first Olympic match against Hungary on August 5, which we won by 4 goals to nil. The Hungarian defence was excellent, and their goalkeeper was instrumental in keeping the score low. After the match we were invited by the Maharaja and Maharani of Baroda to the Hotel Adlon. The Afghan team was also there and we had an enjoyable time.
On August 7 we met the United States of America and beat them 7-0. Ground and weather conditions were ideal, but the play was tame. In the evening, we were entertained by the British ambassador, Sir Eric Phipps.
Our next match was on August 10 against Japan, whom we beat 9-0. Japan played stolidly and one could see that they had picked up a lot of Indian tactics, which explains the fact that for the first twenty minutes of play the score was nil-nil.
After the match, the Oriental Club in Berlin gave us a light supper. Dara arrived the same evening from India in response to our S. O. S.
Our fourth fixture was against France on August 12. It was a cakewalk victory for us: 10-0. The goal-getters were Dara with two, Tapsell and Shahabuddin one each, Roop Singh two and myself four. A large crowd watched us play and applauded our game heartily. In the evening the Berlin Mosque Committee entertained us to tea.
Dhyan Chand in Action against France in the 1936 Berlin Olympics Hockey Semi-Finals