The Indian hockey team to the Munich Olympics sported a new look with only four players from the 1968 edition making the cut. Making his Olympic debut was Ashok Kumar, son of legendary Dhyan Chand and also the fiery forward B.P. Govinda, who went on to become an iconic figure with the distinctive head band.
Also in the team was full-back Michael Kindo, who became the first Adivasi to don Indian hockey colours and was to become an inspirational figure for many of his ilk, who followed him into the national team in the subsequent years.
The competitions in the Munich Olympics were overshadowed by the Palestinian terrorist attack on Israeli athletes, 11 of whom were gunned down. While the athletes mourned the killings, the hockey tournament set another landmark as it ended Asian dominance in the Olympics as Germany displaced Pakistan as the new champions. It was for the first time that neither Pakistan nor India won an Olympic gold medal since hockey returned to the programme in 1928.
For India, it was another disappointing outing despite a strong showing in the league phase when they won five and drew two matches to qualify for the semifinals. However, India went down to their old foes Pakistan 0-2, but scrambled to a 2-1 win against Holland in the playoff to pick up the bronze medal for the second Olympics in a row.
Indian team: Harmek Singh (captain), Mukhbain Singh, Manuel Fredericks, Charles Cornelius, Michael Kindo, Aslam Sher Khan, Perumal Krishnamurthy, Virender Singh, Ajit Pal Singh, Vece Paes, MP. Ganesh, Victor John Phillips, Harbinder Singh, Kulwant Singh, Ajit Singh, Ashok Kumar, BP. Govinda and Harcharan Singh.
League: India drew with Holland 1-1 (Ashok Kumar 1).
India beat Great Britain 5-0 (Mukhbain Singh 3; Michael Kindo 1; Harmik Singh 1).
India beat Australia 3-1(Mukhbain Singh 3).
India drew with Poland 2-2 (Harmik Singh 1; Govinda 1).
India beat Kenya 3-2 (Mukhbain Singh 2; Harmik Singh 1).
India beat Mexico 8-0 (Kulwant Singh 3; Ashok Kumar 2; Harmik Singh 1; Michael Kindo 1;Govinda 1).
India beat New Zealand 3-2 (Kulwant Singh 1; Ganesh 1; Michael Kindo 1).
Semifinals: India lost to Pakistan 0-2.
Bronze Medal playoff: India beat Holland 2-1 (Govinda 1; Mukhbain Singh 1).
Positions: Germany 1; Pakistan 2; India 3; Holland 4; Australia 5; Great Britain 6; Spain 7; Malaysia 8; New Zealand 9; Belgium 10; Poland 11; France 12; Kenya 13; Argentina 14; Uganda 15; Mexico 16.
Keywords: 2012 London Olympics