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Memorable Pre-Independence Indian Sporting moments

    Let’s remember few famous Sporting events memorable Pre-Independence Indian Sports moments.

    1. Norman Pritchard’s Olympic medal: Norman Gilbert Pritchard competed at the 1900 Paris Olympics, which was India’s debut at the Olympic Games. He competed in 5 different events and won 2 Silver medals in Athletics Men’s 200m and 200m hurdles events.In 2005 International Association of Athletics Federations published a report on official track and field statistics for the 2004 Summer Olympics. In historical records section, Pritchard’s name was listed in Great Britain’s column, research by historians also shows that Pritchard was chosen to represent Britain, however, International Olympic Committee still consider Pritchard have competed for India and his 2 medals credited to India.
    2. Mohun Bagan’s victory over East Yorkshire Team: The IFA Shield is an annual football tournament organized by the Indian Football AssociationIn 1911s edition, Mohun Bagan created history by defeating East Yorkshire Regiment by 2-1 and became the first Indian Football club to do so. Most of the Mohun Bagan’s players were playing barefoot while the East Yorkshire Regiment played with proper footballing equipment. This victory always considers as a memorable and a landmark victory in the Indian Freedom struggle.
    3. Indian Test Cricket Team’s debut: Cricket in India was introduced by European merchant sailors in the 18th century. Few Indian like Ranjit Singh and Duleep Singh had played under British rule, but India’s national team didn’t play its 1st test match until 25 June 1932 at Lord’s and became 6th nation to get Test status. The team led by Col CK Naidu lost by 158 runs against England, but still make an impact on India’s presence at International level.

    4. Phadeppa Dareppa Chaugule – Marathon Man: India sent its first contingent at the 1920 Olympics with 5 athletes. Phadeppa Dareppa Chaugule became the 1st Indian to represent the nation at Olympic Marathon. He finished 19th by clocking a time of 2 hours 50 minutes 45.2 seconds. He hails from Belgaum/Belagavi, Karnataka and received the title Conqueror of the Wind’ from the local community after his top-20 finish in the marathon at the 1920 Antwerp Olympics.
    5. Hockey Team’s hat-trick of Gold medals at Olympics: Indian National Field Hockey Team was the first Non-European team to be a part of International Hockey Federation. Indian Men’s hockey team is the most successful team at the Olympic Games. The Indian team has won 11 medals (8 Gold, 1 Silver and 3 Bronze), 3 of these Gold medals came before Pre-Independence, which is also known as the Era of ‘Hockey Wizard’ Major Dhyanchand. India won the Gold medal at 1928, 1932, 1936 edition and never lost a single match against any team. The team had a 30-0 winning streak during this time, from their first game until losing in the 1960 gold medal final.
    6. Torch in East Bengal FC’s Emblem: In 1930 most of the Football club’s left the Calcutta Football League in midway because of the impact of Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha. Amidst much confusion, Royal Regiment was declared winners in the first division. However, East Bengal was not allowed to be promoted to the First Division. Thousands of East Bengal fans and officials decided to hold a protest march at the East Bengal Ground. It was at this march that flaming torches were carried by the protestors. This gave the club officials the idea of a torch (known as ‘Mashal’) being the club emblem, which has stuck to this day.

    7. The Great Gama Pehlwan: Ghulam Mohammad Baksh aka The Great Gama Pehlwan was Bruce Lee’s Inspiration, Undefeated in a career spanning more than 52 years, he is considered one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. He was so strong that he could lift 1200 KGs stone. In 1902 he had come to Baroda (Now Vadodara) to attend a wrestling competition and couldn’t find anyone of his match. He lifted a piece of stone weighing 1200 KG and carried it to some distance to show his strength. The stone is now put on display in Baroda Museum, Sayajibaug, Vadodara.  On September 10, 1910, The Great Gama faced The Great Polish wrestler Stanislaus Zbyszko in the finals of the John Bull World Championships in London. Zbyszko wrestled the Indian legend to a draw after nearly three hours of grappling. The two men were set to face each other again on September 17, 1910. On that date, Zbyszko failed to show up and Gama was announced the winner by default. He was awarded the prize and the John Bull Belt.
    8. Transformation of Polo: Manipur is recognized as the origin of modern Polo. The game of Polo was introduced to the world British Cavalry Regiment and tea planters stationed in India (Manipur) during the 1860s, but is derived from the game played by the exiled prince of the Indian kingdom of Manipur (now a state in India) sometime between 1819 and 1826 on indigenous ponies.  The international rules for the game were framed after the First World War and now POLO is played under these rules everywhere.

    India had a vast and golden history in field of Sports before Independence and Indian athletes still carrying this heritage and making nation proud by winning laurels at International level.

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