India at the Olympics

India first participated at the Olympic Games in 1900, with a lone athlete Norman Pritchard winning two medals – both silver – in athletics and became the first Asian nation to win an Olympic medal.[1] The nation first sent a team to the Summer Olympic Games in 1920 and has participated in every Summer Games since then. India has also competed at several Winter Olympic Games beginning in 1964. Indian athletes have won 35 medals, all at the Summer Games. For a period of time, the Indian Men's Field Hockey Team was dominant in Olympic competition, winning eleven medals in twelve Olympics between 1928 and 1980. The run included eight gold medals of which six were won consecutively from 1928 to 1956.[2]

India at the
Olympics
Flag of India.svg
IOC codeIND
NOCIndian Olympic Association
Websiteolympic.ind.in
Medals
Ranked 58th
Gold
10
Silver
9
Bronze
16
Total
35
Summer appearances
Winter appearances
Other related appearances
 Independent Olympic Participants (2014)

History

During British Imperial Rule

 
India team that won the gold medal at 1928 Summer Olympics

Despite being under British rule until 1947, India participated in the Olympic Games separately from the British Olympic Team. India sent its first athlete to the Summer Olympics for the 1900 Games, but an Indian national team did not compete at the Summer Olympics until 1920. Ahead of the 1920 Games, Sir Dorabji Tata and Governor of Bombay George Lloyd helped India secure representation at the International Olympic Committee, enabling it to participate in the Games (see India at the 1920 Olympic Games). India then sent a team to the 1920 Olympics, comprising three athletes, two wrestlers, and managers Sohrab Bhoot and A. H. A. Fyzee. The Indian Olympic movement was then established during the 1920s: some founders of this movement were Dorabji Tata, A.G. Noehren (Madras College of Physical Education), H.C. Buck (Madras College of Physical Education), Moinul Haq (Bihar sports associations), S. Bhoot (Bombay Olympic Association), A.S. Bhagwat (Deccan Gymkhana), and Guru Dutt Sondhi (Punjab Olympic Association); Lt. Col H.L.O. Garrett (from the Government College Lahore and Punjab Olympic Association) and Sagnik Poddar (of St. Stephen's School) helped organise some early national games; and prominent patrons included Maharajas and royal princes such as Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, Ranjitsinhji of Nawanagar, the Maharaja of Kapurthala, and the Maharaja of Burdwan.[3][4][5]

In 1923, a provisional All India Olympic Committee was formed, and in February 1924, the All India Olympic Games (that later became the National Games of India) were held to select a team for the 1924 Summer Olympics. The Indian delegation at the Paris Olympics comprised seven athletes, seven tennis players and team manager Harry Buck.[6]

 
Indian hockey team at 1936 Berlin Olympics

In 1927, the provisional Indian Olympic Committee formally became the Indian Olympic Association (IOA); its main tasks were to promote the development of sports in India, choose host cities for the national games, and send teams selected from the national games to the Summer Olympics. Thus, at the 1928 national games, it selected seven athletes to represent India at the next Summer Olympics, with Sondhi as manager. By this time, the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) had also been established and it sent a hockey team to the Summer Olympics. The national hockey team was similarly sent to the 1932 Games along with four athletes and one swimmer and 1936 Games with four athletes, three wrestlers, one weight-lifter, along with three officials headed by team manager Sondhi. The Indian field hockey team dominated the Olympics from 1928 to 1936 winning an unprecedented three consecutive titles. In the 1928 Summer Olympics final India defeated Netherlands 3–0. It was a great achievement for the fact, that it was the first gold medal won by any nation from Asia at the modern Olympic Games.[7][8] In 1932 Summer Olympics India defeated United States 24–1, the largest margin of victory in Olympics history.[9] In 1936 Summer Olympics final they defeated Germany 8–1, the largest margin of victory ever in an Olympic final.[10]

Post-independence

 
India scoring their third goal against Britain in the final at the 1948 Olympics

From 1948 onwards, because of the IOA's wider outreach, India began sending delegations of over 50 athletes in several sports, each selected by its sports federation, to the Summer Olympics. The delegation was headed by a chef-de-mission. The Indian field hockey team won a gold medal at the 1948 Summer Olympics by defeating Great Britain in the final. It was the first gold medal for India as an independent nation.[11]

 
1952 Helsinki Gold Medal winning team with Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru

At the 1952 Summer Olympics wrestler K. D. Jadhav won the first individual medal for independent India. The Indian field hockey team continued their dominance by winning a sixth straight title by defeating Pakistan in the final of 1956 Summer Olympics. The six straight title wins by the Indian team was an Olympic record at that time in a team event. This record has since been surpassed only by the United States men's and women's basketball teams.

At the 1960 Rome Olympics the hockey team lost the final and had to settle for a silver medal.[12] The team bounced back by winning gold at the 1964 Summer Olympics.[13] But went on to win only bronze medals in the next two Olympics.[14][15] In 1976 Summer Olympics India went home empty handed, the first time since 1924.

Indian hockey team won their record 8th olympic gold at the 1980 Summer Olympics.[16][17] India had to return empty handed in the next three Summer Olympics. At the 1996 Summer Olympics held in Atlanta, tennis player Leander Paes won a bronze medal at the men's singles event ending a barren run of 16 years without a medal at the Olympics and also became the first individual medalist since 1952.[18]

Recent history

 
Sushil Kumar (left) became the first Indian athlete to win multiple individual Olympic medals since independence

At the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Karnam Malleswari won a bronze medal in the Women's 69 kg weightlifting category. It was the first-ever Olympic medal won by an Indian woman.[19]

At the 2004 Athens Olympics, star shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore won the silver medal in Men's double trap shooting.[20]

At the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Abhinav Bindra won gold in the Men's 10 metre air rifle event becoming the first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games.[21] Vijender Singh got the country's first medal in boxing with his bronze medal in Middleweight category. The 3 medal haul for India was the best till that year. Subsequently, the record was bettered to make it the third best performance in history.[22]

The 2012 Summer Olympics saw a record 83-member Indian contingent participating in the games and setting a new best for the country with a total of six medals.[20] Wrestler Sushil Kumar became the first Indian with multiple individual Olympic medals (bronze at the 2008 Summer Olympics and silver at the 2012 Summer Olympics) since independence. Saina Nehwal won a bronze medal in badminton in Women's singles, winning the country's first Olympic medal in badminton. Pugilist Mary Kom became the first Indian woman to win a medal in boxing with her bronze medal in Women's flyweight division. Star shooter Gagan Narang won the bronze in men's 10 m air rifle shooting.[23] Vijay Kumar added another medal by winning a silver in men's 25 m rapid fire pistol competition.[24]This was India's best performance till it was overtaken in 2020.

 
Olympics Bronze medalist Mary Kom with young sportsperson.

At the 2016 Summer Olympics, a record number of 118 athletes competed. Sakshi Malik became the first Indian female wrestler to win an Olympic medal with her bronze medal in the Women's freestyle 58 kg category.[25] Shuttler P. V. Sindhu won a silver medal in Women's singles badminton, becoming the first Indian woman to win an Olympic silver medal and also the youngest Indian Olympic medalist.[26]

In the 2020 Summer Olympics (held in 2021), India was represented by a new record number of 124 athletes. Saikhom Mirabai Chanu secured a silver in the weightlifting women's category of 49 kg on the opening day, the first time India won a medal on the opening day of any Olympics.[27] A few days later, P. V. Sindhu defeated China's He Bingjiao in the Women's singles badminton bronze medal match in straight games, thus becoming the first Indian woman to win two individual Olympic medals.[28][29] Neeraj Chopra won the gold in Javelin Throw, becoming the first Indian to win a gold medal in track and field and the second Indian to win an individual Olympic gold.[30] In Men's Field Hockey, India won a bronze medal. This medal came after a gap of 41 years, having last won a gold medal in Moscow 1980.[31][32] In the wrestling competitions, Ravi Kumar Dahiya won a silver medal and Bajrang Punia won a bronze medal.[33][34] Olympic debutant Lovlina Borgohain took bronze in women's boxing. She became only the second woman to win an Olympic medal in boxing.[35] The haul of 7 medals is the best performance for India in the Olympics history.[36][37][38]

Olympic Milestones

 
2008 Olympic champion Abhinav Bindra with then Speaker of the Lok Sabha, Somnath Chatterjee.
Milestone Athlete/Team Game(s) Sport Medal(s)
First Medallist,
First Individual Medallist[39]
Norman Pritchard   1900 Paris   Athletics   Silver
First Individual Medallist after Independence[40] K. D. Jadhav   1952 Helsinki   Wrestling   Bronze
First Gold Medallist[41] Men's Field Hockey Team   1928 Amsterdam   Field hockey   Gold
First Gold Medallist after Independence[42] Men's Field Hockey Team   1948 London   Field hockey   Gold
First Individual Gold Medallist[43] Abhinav Bindra   2008 Beijing   Shooting   Gold
First Individual Multi-medallist[44][45] Norman Pritchard   1900 Paris   Athletics   Silver
  Silver
First Individual Multi-medallist after Independence[46] Sushil Kumar   2008 Beijing
  2012 London
  Wrestling   Bronze
  Silver
First Female Medallist[47] Karnam Malleswari   2000 Sydney   Weightlifting   Bronze
First Female Multi-medallist[48] P. V. Sindhu   2016 Rio de Janeiro
  2020 Tokyo
  Badminton   Silver
  Bronze

Indian Contingent at Olympics

Following lists provide a comparative compendium of the number of participants from India in the Summer and Winter Olympic games.

Medal tables

Medals by Sports

List of medalists

Medal Name/Team Games Sport Event Date
  Silver Norman Pritchard   1900 Paris  Athletics Men's 200 metres 22 July 1900
  Silver Norman Pritchard   1900 Paris  Athletics Men's 200 metre hurdles 16 July 1900
  Gold   1928 Amsterdam  Field hockey Men's competition 26 May 1928
  Gold   1932 Los Angeles  Field hockey Men's competition 11 August 1932
  Gold   1936 Berlin  Field hockey Men's competition 15 August 1936
  Gold   1948 London  Field hockey Men's competition 12 August 1948
  Gold   1952 Helsinki  Field hockey Men's competition 24 July 1952
  Bronze K. D. Jadhav   1952 Helsinki  Wrestling Men's freestyle Bantamweight 23 July 1952
  Gold   1956 Melbourne  Field hockey Men's competition 6 December 1956
  Silver   1960 Rome  Field hockey Men's competition 9 September 1960
  Gold   1964 Tokyo  Field hockey Men's competition 23 October 1964
  Bronze   1968 Mexico City  Field hockey Men's competition 26 October 1968
  Bronze   1972 Munich  Field hockey Men's competition 10 September 1972
  Gold   1980 Moscow  Field hockey Men's competition 29 July 1980
  Bronze Leander Paes   1996 Atlanta  Tennis Men's singles 3 August 1996
  Bronze Karnam Malleswari   2000 Sydney  Weightlifting Women's 69 kg 19 September 2000
  Silver Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore   2004 Athens  Shooting Men's double trap 17 August 2004
  Gold Abhinav Bindra   2008 Beijing  Shooting Men's 10 m air rifle 11 August 2008
  Bronze Vijender Singh  Boxing Middleweight 20 August 2008
  Bronze Sushil Kumar  Wrestling Men's freestyle 66 kg 21 August 2008
  Silver Vijay Kumar   2012 London  Shooting Men's 25 m rapid fire pistol 3 August 2012
  Silver Sushil Kumar  Wrestling Men's freestyle 66 kg 12 August 2012
  Bronze Saina Nehwal  Badminton Women's singles 4 August 2012
  Bronze Mary Kom   Boxing Women's flyweight 8 August 2012
  Bronze Gagan Narang  Shooting Men's 10m air rifle 30 July 2012
  Bronze Yogeshwar Dutt  Wrestling Men's freestyle 60 kg 11 August 2012
  Silver P. V. Sindhu   2016 Rio de Janeiro  Badminton Women's singles 19 August 2016
  Bronze Sakshi Malik  Wrestling Women's freestyle 58 kg 17 August 2016
  Gold Neeraj Chopra   2020 Tokyo  Athletics Men's javelin throw 7 August 2021[49]
  Silver Saikhom Mirabai Chanu  Weightlifting Women's 49 kg 24 July 2021
  Silver Ravi Kumar Dahiya  Wrestling Men's freestyle 57 kg 5 August 2021
  Bronze P. V. Sindhu  Badminton Women's singles 1 August 2021
  Bronze Lovlina Borgohain  Boxing Women's welterweight 4 August 2021
  Bronze  Field hockey Men's tournament 5 August 2021
  Bronze Bajrang Punia  Wrestling Men's freestyle 65 kg 7 August 2021

Multiple Medalists

Team Sports

Athlete Sport Games   Gold   Silver   Bronze Total
Leslie Claudius   Field hockey 1948–1960 3 1 0 4
Udham Singh   Field hockey 1952–1964 3 1 0 4
Richard James Allen   Field hockey 1928–1936 3 0 0 3
Dhyan Chand   Field hockey 1928–1936 3 0 0 3
Ranganathan Francis   Field hockey 1948–1956 3 0 0 3
Randhir Singh Gentle   Field hockey 1948–1956 3 0 0 3
Balbir Singh Sr.   Field hockey 1948–1956 3 0 0 3
Shankar Lakshman   Field hockey 1956–1964 2 1 0 3
Haripal Kaushik   Field hockey 1956–1964 2 1 0 3
John Peter   Field hockey 1960–1968 1 1 1 3
Prithipal Singh   Field hockey 1960–1968 1 1 1 3
Harbinder Singh   Field hockey 1964–1972 1 0 2 3
Carlyle Tapsell   Field hockey 1932–1936 2 0 0 2
Roop Singh   Field hockey 1932–1936 2 0 0 2
Jaswant Rai   Field hockey 1948–1952 2 0 0 2
Govind Perumal   Field hockey 1952–1956 2 0 0 2
Amir Kumar   Field hockey 1948–1956 2 0 0 2
Jaswant Singh Rajput   Field hockey 1948–1952 2 0 0 2
Leslie Hammond   Field hockey 1928–1932 2 0 0 2
Broome Pinniger   Field hockey 1928–1932 2 0 0 2
Sayed Jaffar   Field hockey 1932–1936 2 0 0 2
Keshav Dutt   Field hockey 1948–1952 2 0 0 2
Grahanandan Singh   Field hockey 1948–1952 2 0 0 2
K. D. Singh   Field hockey 1948–1952 2 0 0 2
Raghbir Lal   Field hockey 1952–1956 2 0 0 2
Joginder Singh   Field hockey 1960–1964 1 1 0 2
Charanjit Singh   Field hockey 1960–1964 1 1 0 2
Raghbir Singh Bhola   Field hockey 1956–1960 1 1 0 2
Mohinder Lal   Field hockey 1960–1964 1 1 0 2
Balkrishan Singh   Field hockey 1956–1960 1 1 0 2
Rajendran Christie   Field hockey 1964–1968 1 0 1 2
Balbir Singh Kullar   Field hockey 1964–1968 1 0 1 2
Jagjit Singh   Field hockey 1964–1968 1 0 1 2
Gurbux Singh   Field hockey 1964–1968 1 0 1 2
Krishnamurthy Perumal   Field hockey 1968–1972 0 0 2 2
Ajitpal Singh   Field hockey 1968–1972 0 0 2 2
Harmik Singh   Field hockey 1968–1972 0 0 2 2

Individual Sports

Athlete Sport Games   Gold   Silver   Bronze Total
Norman Pritchard   Athletics 1900 0 2 0 2
Sushil Kumar   Wrestling 2008–2012 0 1 1 2
P. V. Sindhu   Badminton 2016–2020 0 1 1 2

Indian Men's Field Hockey Team at the Summer Olympics

 
Indian field hockey team at the 1948 London Olympics

Olympic Records

Medal Table

 
Indian postal stamp, 1972
 
Indian postal stamp, 1992
 
Indian postal stamp, 2004
Games Ranking
  1908 London Did not enter
  1920 Antwerp Did not enter
  1928 Amsterdam   Gold
  1932 Los Angeles   Gold
  1936 Berlin   Gold
  1948 London   Gold
  1952 Helsinki   Gold
  1956 Melbourne   Gold
  1960 Rome   Silver
  1964 Tokyo   Gold
  1968 Mexico City   Bronze
  1972 Munich   Bronze
  1976 Montreal 7th[51]
  1980 Moscow   Gold
  1984 Los Angeles 5th
  1988 Seoul 6th
  1992 Barcelona 7th
  1996 Atlanta 8th
  2000 Sydney 7th
  2004 Athens 7th
  2008 Beijing Did not qualify
  2012 London 12th
  2016 Rio de Janeiro 8th
  2020 Tokyo   Bronze

See also

  • List of flag bearers for India at the Olympics
  • India at the Paralympics
  • India at the World Games
  • India at the Asian Games
  • India at the Commonwealth Games
  • India at the Lusofonia Games
  • India at the South Asian Games
  • Olympic Gold Quest

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External links