The 1960 Rome Olympics remains a watershed for Indian sport. There were 2 disappoints that deeply affected Indian psyche. The first was a disappointment of Milkha Singh in winning medal. This failure was galling as Milkha had beaten Spence ( the eventual medalist) just a few months earlier at the Commonwealth games. A bigger heartbreak was the first ever d efeat in hockey. Before the 1960 Rome Olympics India had never lost a hockey match in any Olympics. The names of Dhyan Chand, Balbir Singh, Gurbax Singh had become legends. Earlier in the 1956 olympics at Melbourne the Indian teamhad staved off a Pakistan challange with a 1-0 victory. The hero then was Balbir Singh. When the Indian team set course for the Rome olympics, it was assumed India will win again. The Indian team was captained by Leslie Claudious. Much was expected of this team that
had the world famous short corner specialist Prithipal Singh. The league matches showed Indias class as India beat Afghanistan 21-0 and USA 14-0. THE GATHERING STORM WAS NOT NOTICED AS india labored to beat England 1-0 in the semifinal. India were in the final and opposing India was Pakistan. It was to be a titanic clash. There was no TV coverage then, but All India Radio broadcast a running commentry. Millions of Indians glued to their Radio sets as they listened to the commentry. Nobody expected an Indian defeat. The match was soon underway but people watching noticed something was amiss. Pakistan was outplaying India. The unthinkable soon happened and Pakistan were ahead. They had scored a goal. The radio commentator broke down and millions of Indians cried. Beaten? That to by Pakistan? The shock was immense. This olympics pricked the bubble of Indian victories and hockey hasnever been the same since then.