August 15 this year marks the 80th anniversary of Indian hockey's gold medal victory over Germany in the 1936 Berlin Olympics.
Ashok Kumar and Hockey legend Dhyan Chand
And though the Indian Hockey Federation may not have even thought about a celebration just yet, India's ambassador to Germany, Gurjit Singh, is planning something special overseas to mark the special day. India hockey legend Dhyan Chand's son Ashok Kumar (66) revealed to mid-day that Gurjit had called him from Germany and sounded very excited about the occasion.
"Gurjit is a dear friend and when he told me that he wanted to celebrate 80 years of India's hockey gold at the Berlin Games, it got me excited too. Gurjit said he plans to screen the final which India won 8-1 against Hitler's Germany. He also asked me if I could share some of Babuji's (Dhyan Chand's) memorabilia to be displayed, and I readily agreed. It's always nice to see Indian hockey revered," said Ashok Kumar.
The 1936 hockey gold was one of six consecutive gold medals India won at the Olympics (1928 Amsterdam, 1932 Los Angeles, 1936 Berlin, 1940 London, 1952 Helsinki, 1956 Melbourne).
Dhyan Chand, then 31, scored a hat-trick as India humbled the Germans in their own den. Such was the Dhyan Chand-led India team's dominance then that in the five matches in the competition, they scored 38 times and conceded just once.
Legend has it that so inspired was the Fuehrer by the Indian hockey wizard that he offered him the post of a Major in the German army alongwith German citizenship. Dhyan Chand, of course, politely declined.
Two-time Olympian and 1975 World Cup-winner Ashok Kumar is keen to contribute to this German celebration. "When Gurjit asked me to send some of Babuji's memorabilia from that match, I told him that I only had photographs. I thought he would be disappointed, but said instead he would be proud to have them. I will be scanning the photos and sending them to him soon," added Ashok Kumar.
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