Hockey legend Gurbux Singh recounts India’s historic gold medal win at Tokyo Olympics in 1964
In the latest article of Hockey India’s Flashback Series, legend and former India Captain Gurbux Singh reminisced India’s historic campaign at the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games where India beat arch-nemesis Pakistan 1-0 in the Final.
“I still remember, the Final was delayed because the Bronze medal match between Spain and Australia went into extra time and then sudden death. We were all warmed-up and waiting, as usual, there was so much tension that we were using the restroom every ten minutes. One could see players from both Pakistan and India were going up and down the dressing room,” recalled Gurbux Singh laughingly.
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Vividly recalling every moment of that tense Final, Gurbux emphasized that the pressure was in fact on the Pakistanis as they were the defending Champions. “I believe they were more nervous than us. India didn’t have anything to lose but the crown was at stake for them. Few minutes into the match there was a bit of a scuffle between Asad Malik the inside-left of Pakistan and Prithipal Singh of India, and the match got delayed a little. There was some exchange of words before the match commenced again. After that interruption, the match was cool and there was no problem.”
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The Final played in front of a packed stadium in Tokyo, India struck a goal in the 41st minute of the match through a penalty stroke scored by Maninder Lal. “We missed a few good chances when Haripal Kaushik slipped at the point of scoring and then Prithipal had a penalty corner in the second half, shot hit their left full-back, Munir Dar, on the foot and we got a penalty stroke. Maninder Lal scored that goal. The last five minutes Pakistan played really well and for us, Lakshman saved two corners.”
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“The last few minutes felt like the longest hours, it felt as though the clock had stopped. Finally, when the last whistle was blown, people from the galleries like Milkha Singh, Raja Karni Singh and the whole Indian contingent jumped into the ground and started doing bhangra,” reminisced Gurbux who led the team to the Gold in the Asian Games in 1966.
“But honestly at that stage, I did not feel any excitement. When you are looking for that particular moment for years and finally it happens, everything is drained out of you, and it takes some time for it to sink in. It was only when the Indian flag went up, the national anthem was played, and tears rolled down my cheeks. I think that occasion it set in that we had actually won,” he said recalling the rush of emotions during the victory ceremony.
Source: HI Release
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