New Delhi [India], June 27 (ANI): Former Indian hockey captain Gurbux Singh, who played an integral part in India's Gold Medal victory at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo, reminisced the team's historic campaign where India defeated arch-nemesis Pakistan 1-0 in the Final.
On Hockey India's Flashback Series, the 85-year-old recalled the final and said, "I still remember, the final was delayed because the Bronze medal match between Spain and Australia went into extra time and then sudden death. We were all warmed-up and waiting, as usual, there was so much tension that we were using the restroom every ten minutes. One could see players from both Pakistan and India were going up and down the dressing room."
Vividly recalling every moment of that tense Final, Gurbux emphasised that the pressure was in fact on the Pakistanis as they were the defending Champions. "I believe they were more nervous than us. India didn't have anything to lose but the crown was at stake for them. Few minutes into the match there was a bit of a scuffle between Asad Malik the inside-left of Pakistan and Prithipal Singh of India, and the match got delayed a little. There was some exchange of words before the match commenced again. After that interruption, the match was cool and there was no problem."
The final played in front of a packed stadium in Tokyo, India struck a goal in the 41st minute of the match through a penalty stroke scored by Maninder Lal. "We missed a few good chances when Haripal Kaushik slipped at the point of scoring and then Prithipal had a penalty corner in the second half, shot hit their left full back Munir Dar on the foot and we got a penalty stroke. Maninder Lal scored that goal. The last five minutes Pakistan played really well and for us, Lakshman saved two corners."
"The last few minutes felt like the longest hours, it felt as though the clock had stopped. Finally, when the last whistle was blown, people from the galleries like Milkha Singh, Raja Karni Singh and the whole Indian contingent jumped into the ground and started doing bhangra," reminisced Gurbux who led the team to the Gold in the Asian Games in 1966.
Since that incredible feat in Tokyo, the Manpreet Singh-led Indian squad will play in the same city this summer Olympics and Gurbux Singh believes the team is capable of recreating that historic podium finish.
He said, "I wish them all the luck, they have been doing really well in the last few years. They are capable of winning in Tokyo. I think for me, as the current India Coach has said, the first target should be the quarter final. In the past years, I think after the 80s especially, we have been so near and yet so far away from a medal." (ANI)