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Glorious Past of Pak-Hockey -- Records Held by Pakistan


Jul 19, 2009

Pakistan are the true inheritors of the Golden Legacy of sub-continent Hockey. They have won numerous World Cup, Olympic, Champions Trophy, Asian Games and Asia Cup championships. Pakistan, who joined the International Hockey Federation in 1948, are the standard bearers of hockey in Asia, and indeed, the world.

It took Pakistan 4 Olympic Games (1948, 1952, 1956, 1960) before it finally won the Olympic hockey gold medal. In the 12th minute of the 1960 Rome Olympics hockey final, right-out Noor Alam latched onto a ball from Abdul Hameed and ran down the right-flank. Naseer Bunda took Alam's cross neatly just inside the circle. Prithipal Singh was beaten by Nasir's dribble and Jhaman Lal did not back up. Naseer side-stepped a charging Shankar Lakshman, and flicked past the helpless keeper into the goal. Pakistan won the final 1-0, ending India's 32-year unbeaten streak in the Olympics. That marked the beginning of the end of India's supremacy in world hockey.

The goal-scorer and the player who provided the assist are no more alive. Naseer Bunda died on March 20, 1993, while Noor Alam breathed his last on June 30, 2003. Both belonged to Rawalpindi in (West) Punjab province, and both died in their birth cities.

Pakistan has won the Classic Triple in hockey - simultaneous holder of the Continental Championship (Asian Games), World Cup and Olympic title. They accomplished this feat twice. In 1971, Pakistan won the World Cup in Barcelona, after having won the 1970 Asian Games title in Bangkok, and the Olympic title in Mexico City in 1968.

In 1984, Pakistan once again accomplished the Classic Triple when they beat Germany in the final to win the 1984 Olympic hockey gold at Los Angeles. In 1982, they had won the Asian Games title in New Delhi, as well as the World Cup in Mumbai earlier that year.

Pakistan is the only Asian country to win the Champions Trophy - they won in 1978 (Lahore), 1980 (Karachi) and 1994 (Lahore).

Pakistan's worst moment in hockey was in 1972, when the entire Pakistan Olympic hockey team was suspended for disorderly and unsporting behaviour during the medal ceremony after the 1972 Munich Olympics hockey final. The ban was revoked in 1974 only after an apology from the highest level, and after the 13 players in the Olympic final had served the ban for two years.

Colonel A. I. S. Dara was the father of hockey in Pakistan. He represented India in the 1936 Berlin Games, and captained Pakistan in the 1948 London Games. He toiled hard to broaden the base and improve the quality of hockey in Pakistan. Under the leadership of Colonel Dara, and later Air Marshal Nur Khan, Pakistan conceived and created the World Cup (1971), the Champions Trophy (1978) and the Asia Cup (1982).

Brigadier M. H. Atif has played a major role in Pakistan hockey. He represented Pakistan in 4 Olympics (1952-1964), winning one gold (Rome) and two silver medals (Melbourne and Tokyo). Later, under his leadership, Paksitan won the gold at the Olympics in Mexico City (1968) and Los Angeles (1984), and the World Cup in Mumbai (1982).

Pakistan has produced many great superstars. There was none to match the skills of the magnificient Shahnaz Sheikh, who had a delightfully deceptive body swerve and a fast stick. Pakistan's attack looked menacing when they had Kaleemullah in the right wing and Samiullah on the left wing. Samiullah was an absolute genius. He delighted with some great runs down the wings and managed some electrifying goals. Sharp-shooting centre-forward Hassan Sardar was a delight to watch, and was adjudged the Player of the Tournament in the 1982 World Cup at Mumbai. Hassan Sardar was the top scorer at the Los Angeles Olympics with 10 goals, and scored the much needed goals in the semi-final and the final.

Abdul Rasheed Jr. of Pakistan achieved the unique feat of winning the World Cup both as a player (1971) and as a coach (1994) - the only such instance in World Cup history

Pakistan's current hockey superstar is Sohail Abbas, rated as the best penalty corner specialist in the world. In 1999, Sohail scored 62 goals to set a world record of maximum goals in a calendar year. The previous record of 58 goals in a calendar year was held by Dutch penalty corner striker Paul Litjens.

Pakistan holds several Asian Games men's hockey records. The highest goals scored by a team in a match is 17 which Pakistan slammed against Bangladesh in the 1978 Bangkok Asiad. The highest goals scored in a tournament is 42 by Pakistan in the 1990 Beijing Asian Games. They conceded only 5 goals during that tournament. The highest individual goal scorer in the Asian Games is Abdul Waheed, who scored 17 goals (including a double hat trick) in the 1962 Jakarta Asiad. Abdul Waheed, with 25 goals, is the also the leading individual scorer across multiple Asian Games. The record for the maximum number of penalty corner goals in a single game is held by Muneer Dar, who scored 5 goals against South Korea in the 1958 Tokyo Asiad.

The worst drubbing that Pakistan administered to arch-rivals India was in the 1982 Asiad at New Delhi. With a full house watching, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi included, and in front of a national television audience, Pakistan massacred India 7-1. Kalimullah dazzled on the right wing and Hassan Sardar provided the punch in the middle, as Pakistan shattered India's defences to score goals at will.

The first Asian Games hockey title was won by Pakistan (1958 - Tokyo). The first World Cup was won by Pakistan (1971 - Barcelona). The first Junior World Cup was won by Pakistan (1978 - Versailles). The first Champions Trophy was won by Pakistan (1978 - Lahore). The first Asia Cup was won by Pakistan (1982 - Karachi). This streak of winning inaugural hockey tournaments was snapped when Pakistan failed to win the first Commonwealth Games hockey competition in Kuala Lumpur in 1998, where they ended up 5th.

Just as India has the monopoly in Olympic Hockey, winning 8 Gold Medals, Pakistan has the monopoly in the World Cup, winning the maximum of 4 titles - 1971 (Barcelona), 1978 (Buenos Aires), 1982 (Mumbai) and 1994 (Sydney).​

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