Sports

As India Creates History With 120 Athletes Participating In Rio Olympics, Know The Brief History Of India In Olympics

Gaurav Shukla

August 3rd, 2016

SHARES

The Rio Olympics are due to start in a few days. However, the Indian Olympic Association has already created history by sending its largest ever contingent of 120 athletes, which is a significant 37 larger than our previous record of 83 athletes sent to the 2012 London Olympics.

As we all know, the first Olympics were held in 1896 in Athens. India did not participate in those but only in the very next Paris 1900 Olympics by sending just one man, Norman Pritchard. He was successful in making his mark in history by bagging two silver medals, in Athletics 200 m and Athletics 200 hurdles.

The IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) attributes these two medals to the Great Britain, with a rider that –

“Opinion is divided about the affiliation of this athlete (Norman Pritchard) who won two silver medals in 1900. In these tables he is shown as British but several historians feel he represented India, in which case two silver medals should be subtracted from the British totals and added to those of India.”

However, the International Olympic Committee and the Indian Olympic Association unambiguously cite these medals as having won by India.

India did not participate in the next 3 Olympics and the 1916 Olympics were cancelled due to the World War I. Later, India sent a team of 6 athletes in 1920 Antwerp Games and has participated in all the Summer Olympic Games ever since.

India held a complete dominance in Hockey in the Olympics from 1928 to 1956, winning all the 6 Gold medals (Olympics were not held in 1940 and 1944 due to the on-going World War II).

India lost the 1960 Hockey Olympic final to Pakistan, thus settling with silver. However, they reclaimed the Gold medal again in 1964 and also in 1980. Additionally, it also won the Hockey bronze in the 1968 and 1972 games. However, the Indian Hockey team has failed to reach the podium since 1980, though the expectations from them this time are surely the highest compared to the last few Olympics.

The lone non-Hockey medal that India has won from 1904 to 1992 was in 1952 Helsinki Olympics, when K.D. Jadhav secured a bronze in WRESTLING.

From 1996 to 2004, India won a medal each. However, the fortunes changed for us with the numbers increasing to the highest ever tally of 3 in 2008 and then doubling to 6 in 2012.

ATHLETE

SPORT

GAMES

MEDAL

Leander Paes

TENNIS SINGLES MEN

1996 Atlanta

BRONZE

Karnam Malleswari

WEIGHTLIFTING

2000 Sydney

BRONZE

Rajya Vardhan Singh Rathore

DOUBLE TRAP MEN

2004 Athens

SILVER

Abhinav Bindra

SHOOTING

2008 Beijing

GOLD

Vijender Singh

BOXING

2008 Beijing

BRONZE

Sushil Kumar

WRESTLING

2008 Beijing

BRONZE

Sushil Kumar

WRESTLING

2012 London

SILVER

Vijay Kumar

SHOOTING

2012 London

SILVER

Saina Nehwal

BADMINTON

2012 London

BRONZE

Mary Kom Hmangte

BOXING

2012 London

BRONZE

Gagan Narang

SHOOTING

2012 London

BRONZE

Yogeshwar Dutt

WRESTLING

2012 London

BRONZE


It is worthy to appreciate here those Indian athletes, too, who came within a striking distance of bagging a medal at the sport’s biggest festival. Some of the most prominent ones amongst them will be –

  • Randhir Shindes reached the semis before losing twice to finish fourth in the Featherweight Wrestling category in the 1920 Olympics.
  • Indian Football team finished fourth in the 1956 Olympics, after they lost the semi-final as well as the Bronze medal match. However, the withdrawal of 5 of the 16 competing teams did help the team achieve their best performance in Olympics till date.
  • In an unfortunate event for the Indian Athletics, Milkha Singh or the ’The Flying Sikh’ as he is popularly known, missed out on an Olympic medal by a whisker of a second and finished fourth in Men’s 400m race in the 1960 Olympics.
  • Gurbachan Singh Randhava finished fifth in the 110 m Hurdles Men in the 1964 Tokyo Olympics.
  • At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, the ‘Payyoli Express’ P.T. Usha lost the coveted Olympic Bronze by a hundredth of a second, in a finish reminiscent of the Milkha Singh’s race.
  • The first Indian athlete ever to win a medal in a World Championships in Athletics and the winner of Gold medal at the IAAF World Athletics Final in 2005, Anju Bobby George set up a new National Record (which still stands today) at the 2004 Olympic Games and finished fifth in the Women’s Long Jump.
  • Nameirakpam Kunjarani Devi finished fourth in the 48 Kg Women’s Weightlifting in the 2004 Olympics.
  • The legendary pair of Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi lost the semi-finals of the Tennis Men’s Doubles in the 2004 Olympics and then went down fighting in a closely fought Bronze medal match, eventually losing 7-6, 4-6, 16-14.
  • Joydeep Karmakar finished fourth in the 50 m Rifle Prone event at the 2012 London Olympics.
  • Krishna Poonia, after having become only the sixth Indian to make it to the final round of track and field events in an Olympics after Milkha Singh, P T Usha, Sriram Singh, Gurbachan Singh Randhava and Anju Bobby George, finished sixth in the Women’s Discus throw at the 2012 Olympic games.

The Logical Indian wishes the Indian team bound for Rio all the best and is hopeful that the rising trend of Indian athletes in the Olympics will be continued this time too.

The list of all the Olympic medals won by India at the Olympics can also be accessed at http://www.olympic.ind.in/images/OLYMPICGAMES.pdf

With your help today, India can
nurture future sportspersons.

Petition the HRD Ministry to make
sports a compulsory subject in
schools. Sports is education too.

Thank you!

Please also ensure that change begins at home by
pledging to practise/teach gender sensitivity

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