Sports in Pakistan: Pakistan Hockey in Olympics
Hockey is the national game of Pakistan and there was a time that Pakistan Hockey team held almost every major title. Hockey team had never disappointed the nation and they were treated and respected as heroes. Olympic Games are a big event and for years Pakistan Hockey team dominated the field hockey.
Pakistan did not win any medals in the first two Olympic events which took place in 1948 (London) and 1952 (Helsinki) but it was understandable as the nation was still young and struggling to get on its feet. In the 1956 Olympics held in Melbourne, Pakistan won its first Olympic honor; a silver medal for being the runners up in hockey while India clinched the gold medal. Pakistan got its first gold medal in the next event (1960) in Rome by defeating arch rivals India. Pakistan also got its bronze medal in wrestling in the same event.
In the next Olympic events held in Tokyo in 1964, Pakistan managed to win the silver medal while India got the gold. However in the 1968 Mexico Olympics Pakistan clinched the gold medal by beating Australia. In 1972 Munich Olympics Pakistan clinched the silver medal and this time it was defeated by Germany.
Pakistan lost mostly because of biased umpiring and a visibly upset and angry Pakistan team captain swung the medal on his shoe which resulted in the team being suspended and banned for four years . However the team was pardoned after an apology from the then President of Pakistan Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
The performance of the hockey team in the Montreal Olympics held in 1976 was a bit disappointing as the team ended third and won a bronze medal. The next Olympics were held in Moscow in 1980 but the Pakistani team did not participate in it, Pakistan was among the 60 countries that boycotted the games because of Soviet Union’s military invasion in Afghanistan.
The Pakistani Hockey team made the nation proud in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics by winning the gold medal. The next Olympic games were held in 1988 in Seoul, South Korea. In this event Pakistan hockey team did not win any medal but boxer Syed Hussain Shah won the bronze medal in boxing thus saving the country’s blushes. In the 1992 Barcelona Olympics Pakistani team got the bronze medal.
Those who thought that a bronze in the 1992 Olympics was a disappointment did not know what lay ahead of them. From that events onwards, Pakistani hockey team has not earned any medal in fact its performance has plunged from average to poor. Pakistan went without medal in Atlanta Olympics (1996), Sydney Olympics (2000), Athens Olympics (2004), Beijing Olympics (2008) and London Olympics (2012). The team which once made the nation proud has now become an embarrassment.
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