GOLDEN OLYMPIC MOMENTS
- The Indian hockey team set sail for Germany in the ocean liner 'Aitheneaver' to
participate in the Berlin Olympics. The journey lasted 15 days. The team lost hundreds of
hockey balls while practising on the deck of the liner.
- One day after their arrival in Germany, India played a warm up game against a German
side and lost 1-4. An urgent cable message went out from Berlin, asking for the services
of A. I. S. Dara. Dara was air dashed to Berlin, just one day before India's
- India beat Hungary 4-0, United States 7-0 and Japan 9-0. Dara joined the team for
the 10-0 massacre of France in the semi-finals. No team had scored a single goal against
India in their relentless march to the finals.
- India met Germany in the final on August 15, 1936. The Indian team assembled in the
dressing room prior to the match. All the players reverently saluted the tricolour of the
Indian National Congress, which their Assistant Manager had taken with him to Berlin.
- The final started at 11:00 am before a record crowd of 40,000 spectators, the biggest
ever to witness a hockey match in the Olympic Games. Among the audience was the ruler of
Baroda, the princess of Bhopal, and other Indians who had travelled from the Continent.
- India was up by 6 goals in the finals. The Germans now decided to play rough. Going for Dhyan
Chand, the German goalkeeper removed one of his teeth. Coming back after receiving
first aid, the bare-footed Dhyan Chand instructed his team to go easy on goals.
"We must teach them a lesson in ball control," he said. As the stunned crowd
watched, the Indians repeatedly took the ball up to the German circle and then backpassed
to dumbfound their opponents. India ultimately prevailed over Germany 8-1 in the finals to
win its third successive Olympic gold medal.
- The Fuhrer was very impressed by Dhyan Chand's performance in the finals. At a
dinner party after the finals, Hitler offered to elevate Dhyan Chand to the rank of
a Colonel if he migrated to Germany. Dhyan Chand turned down the offer.
- This was to be the last Olympics of 'Hockey Wizard' Dhyan Chand. World War II
intervened to prevent any more Olympic appearances of the hockey immortal. Dhyan Chand
is to hockey what Bradman is to cricket and Pele is to soccer.
Dhyan Chand scored over a thousand goals in a career spanning 1926 - 1948.
- The ultimate tribute was paid to him by a sports club in Vienna, which built a statue of Dhyan Chand
with four hands and four sticks. To those Viennese, no ordinary man with two hands and one
stick could have played so well. Every age produces its own genius. But the only hockey
wizard of the 20th Century has been Major Dhyan Chand, the king among centre-forwards.
- Joseph Garibaldi, who passed away in London on May 17, 2011, was the last surviving
member of the two 1936 Olympic hockey finalists teams - India and Germany. He emigrated to England in 1956.
Joseph Garibaldi remembers having met the great Jesse Owens. He told Owens
that he must be the favourite for his events. Owens replied, "this is my first Olympic Games,
therefore I cannot be sure. On the other hand, the Indian hockey team has always won the gold
- Baburao Narasappa Nimal and Joseph Phillips were the two
Pune-based players of the 1936 Indian Olympic team. Half the township
gathered at Khadki railway station in 1936 to give a send-off to Babu and
Joe, the hockey stars of Khadki, as they set off on their Olympic quest. Babu
recalled, "It was an honour to play in the 1936 Olympic team. After all, that was the last team from
undivided India. For every position, there were 3-4 players ready to join the team if you
failed." Joe Phillips died in 1986, while Babu Nimal died on February 21, 1998.
- 39 years after their Olympic victory at Berlin, Dhyan Chand and Ahmed Sher Khan had a
role to play, albeit indirectly, in India's victory at the 1975 World Cup at Kuala Lumpur.
Ahmed Sher Khan's son, Aslam Sher Khan, scored from a penalty corner with only 3
minutes left to save India from certain defeat in the semi-finals of the World Cup against
Malaysia. India went on to beat Malaysia in extra-time. In the epic final against
Pakistan, master dribbler Ashok Kumar, worthy son of the legendary Dhyan Chand, scored the
goal that won for India its first and only World Cup title till date.
- India's record in the 1936 Olympics at Berlin was as follows :
- Played: 5
- Won: 5
- Goals For: 38
- Goals Against: 1
- The following were the members of the 1936 Indian Olympic Team :
- Dhyan Chand (captain)
- Richard J. Allen (goalkeeper)
- Ali Iqtidar Shah Dara
- Lionel C. Emmett
- Paul Peter Fernandes
- Joseph Galibardy
- Ernest John Goodsir-Cullen
- Mohammed Hussain
- Syed Mohammed Jafar
- Ahsan Mohammed Khan
- Ahmed Sher Khan
- Mirza Nasir-ud-din Masud
- Cyril J. Mitchie
- Babu Narsoo Nimal
- Joseph Philips
- Shabban Shahab-ud-din
- Gurcharan Singh Garewal
- Roop Singh
- Carlyle Carroll Tapsell
Photo Courtesy Terry and Janet Richardson Collection