The Olympics are round the corner and are to be held from July 27- August 12, 2012 in London. India has been participating in the Olympics from 1920, when it was under the British and since 1947 as an independent country. India's achievment in hockey is well known. But, by and large, it is a story of at best near misses. Below are some interesting tit bits about Indian participation in the various Olympics :
Jaipal Singh Munda, a tribal, was one of the two captains of the victorius Indian hockey team at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam. He left theteam in mysterious circumtances just before the semi finals and a new captain had to be appointed.
In the 1948 London Olympics, Kishen Lal led the victorious hockey team and got invited to a dinner with King George,fulfilling a chilhood boast, made to a sweet vendor who had chided him by saying does he take food with kings and young Kishen replied one day he would.
India had sent a water polo team to the 1948 LondonOlympics and it could reach into the second round.
In the 1920 Antwerp Oympics, India's Phadeppa Dareppa Chaugle ran the full marathon and finished 19th.
The credit for the first ever sportsperson representing two countries goes to Ali Iqtidar Shah Dara, who was a member of the 1936 Berlin Olympics gold medal winning Indian hockey team. In 1948 London Olympics he represented Pakistan.
In 1996 Atlanta games, Leander Paes won a bronze medal in Tennis, a historic win by an Indian.
The Indian wrestler K D Mangave finished fourth in the featherweight category of freestyle wrestling in the 1952 Helesinki Olympics. Similarly, both Sudesh Kumar and Prem Premnath finished fourth in their categories in the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.
The Indian boxer Vijender Singh became the first boxer to win a bronze medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.