India's hockey team was the first non-European country to be part of the International Hockey Federation and the Men in Blue were among the pioneers in the sport. While India's success in cricket saw the popularity of hockey decrease in the country, which saw a fall in dominance post-1980, hockey made a resilient comeback in the 2010s. The Indian hockey team lead by Major Dhyan Chand was one of the finest teams assembled in the history of the sport and won three consecutive Olympic medals, as Indian asserted dominance in the sport for nearly three decades. Here's a look at Major Dhyan Chand's legacy in the sport and in which year did India win first gold medal in hockey.
India won their first-ever gold medal in field hockey when Major Dhyan Chand's performances led the team to a win in the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam. Known as the 'wizard of hockey', Dhyan Chand was well regarded for his high-scoring feats along with his superb ball control, as he scored 14 goals in 5 matches at the 1928 Olympics, with India defeating the Netherlands in the final to clinch the country's first-ever Olympic gold. Major Dhyan Chand was also the captain of the Indian hockey team in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics and the 1936 Berlin Olympics, where India stamped their authority, completing a hat-trick of gold medals in field hockey.
India won its first Olympic gold medal as a free country in 1948 in the London Olympics. Major Dhyan Chand, in his forties by then, had gradually phased out his involvement in professional hockey. Despite this, India continued their dominance, bagging their fourth consecutive gold in the Olympics, the first as an independent country. The story of India's 1948 Olympics win was well documented in Akshay Kumar's Gold film, which was directed by Reema Kagti. India lifted four more gold medals in the next five attempts. India lifted another gold in the 1980 Olympics, but since then the 'Men In Blue' have fallen down the pecking order, failing to lift an Olympic medal in the past 40 years.