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Dhyan Chand' s Berlin Feats flatten flawed theorie (7/30/2004)
--S. Mageshwaran
1936 Berlin: Adolf Hitler's stern belief of supremacy of a particular race tumbled at the Olympics he painstakingly organised in 1936. For the Indian team everything was a gain, only loss being missing of hundreds of hockey balls while practicing during their 15-day voyage on ocean liner 'Aitheneaver'.

A member of this team Joseph Garibaldi met the American legend Jesse Owens (who won an unprecedented four gold medals at Berlin) during the Games and asked if he was the favourite in his events - the 100m, 200m, and the long jump (Owens also anchored the US 4x100m relay team to the gold. The great American, it is said, replied: "This is my first Olympics, therefore I can't be sure. But the Indian hockey team has always won the hockey gold medal and therefore will be the eternal favourites."

Such words of praise from none less than Owens was to be broken only by the advent of the World War II. India defeated Hungary 4-0, routed United States 7-0, mauled the Japanese 9-0 before steamrolling the French 10-0 in the semifinals. The finals, watched by the Raja of Baroda and the Princess of Bhopal among the 40,000 -- the largest ever crowd for a hockey match Olympics - too went on expected lines viz,. in favour of India till Dhyan Chand decided to teach the Germans a few lessons in stickwork and ball control.

Played on Aug 15, exactly 11 years before India won her independence from the clutches of the boorish British, India seemed cruising along smoothly till the Germans began to use their sticks for less worthy purposes. The hosts embarked on what was the first ever display of body-play tactics on Dhyan Chand, after India had raced ahead 6-0, which left the Stickwork Sorcerer a tooth less. A tooth was less in his gums, but the ball continued to stick to his stick. 'Professor' Dhyan led the Indian legion of 'hockey experts' in an amazing display of skills, speed and stickwork. Indians would pass the ball among themselves without any interruption - neither in terms of a German defensive interception nor a technical free-hit - till the rival striking circle and then begin to back pass. The crowd was stunned by this performance of killing the enemy without touching him. It was only expected even the Fuhrer must offer the post of a Colonel to Dhyan Chand should the latter migrate to Germany. And it was only expected that the Inventor of Magical Hockey should decline the offer from the Inventor of Maverical Holocaust.

A bigger tribute awaited Dhyan Chand a little later in Vienna with a statue of his with four hands and four sticks being erected. The Austrians thought none with one stick and two hands could have achieved what Dhyan had done. Very few Indians before and after Dhyan have achieved what the magician did.

Indian team at Berlin

Dhyan Chand (C), Richard J. Allen (GK), Ali Iqtidar Shah Dara, Lionel C. Emmett, Paul Peter Fernandes, Joseph Galibardi, Earnest John Goodsir-Cullen, Mohammed Hussain, Syed Mohammed Jafar, Ahsan Mohammed Khan, Ahmed Sher Khan, Mirza Nasir-ud-din Masud, Cyril J. Mitchie, Babu Narsoo Nimal, Joseph Philips, Shabban Shahab-ud-din, Gurcharan Singh Garewal, Roop Singh, Carlyle C. Tapsell. India's performance at Berlin

Played: 5. Won: 5. Goals For: 38. Goals Against: 1.

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