On July 18, 1983, Raghunath Vokkaliga made history. The Indian field hockey player scored the country’s first-ever penalty corner in an Olympic Games match. The team went on to win the bronze medal that year, and Vokkaliga’s goal was hailed as a turning point in the game.
History of Raghunath Vokkaliga
Raghunath Vokkaliga was born in Bangalore, India, in 1961. He started playing hockey when he was just eight years old and joined the Indian Army hockey team in 1980. His talent for the sport quickly became evident, and he was soon selected to represent India at the 1982 Asian Games.
Vokkaliga made his mark on the international stage at the 1983 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. In India’s opening match against Malaysia, he scored the country’s first-ever penalty corner—a move that would come to be known as the “Vokkaliga flick.” The goal helped India secure a 3-2 victory, and the team went on to win the bronze medal that year.
After retiring from competitive hockey in 1985, Vokkaliga remained involved with the sport as a coach and mentor. He also worked tirelessly to promote grassroots hockey in India. In 2003, he was awarded the Padma Shri—one of India’s highest civilian honors—for his contributions to the sport.
Sadly, Vokkaliga passed away in 2015 after a long battle with cancer. He was just 54 years old. But his legacy lives on through those he inspired—both on and off the field.
Raghunath Vokkaliga was more than just a talented hockey player; he was a true pioneer of the sport. His legacy will continue to inspire players and coaches for generations to come.
Frequently Ask Questions
How did Raghunath Vokkaliga become a hockey player?
Raghunath Vokkaliga was born into a family of farmers in the village of Nargund, Karnataka, India. He started playing hockey at a young age, and his skill and dedication quickly earned him a place on the Karnataka state junior team. From there, he progressed to the senior state team and eventually made his way onto the Indian national team.
What was his greatest achievement in the sport?
Raghunath Vokkaliga is best remembered for his performance at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, where he helped the Indian team win the gold medal. It was the first time an Indian team had won an Olympic medal in hockey, and Vokkaliga played a key role in the victory.
How did he contribute to the development of Indian hockey?
In addition to his achievements on the field, Raghunath Vokkaliga was also a skilled coach and administrator. He helped to set up several hockey clubs in Karnataka and served as the secretary of the Karnataka Hockey Association for many years.
What was his role in the 1948 London Olympics?
Raghunath Vokkaliga was a member of the Indian hockey team that competed at the 1948 Summer Olympics in London. Although the team did not win a medal, they were praised for their skill and sportsmanship.
That’s all! You can also check out Sukhen Dey, the Indian Weightlifter Who Made History and The Oldest Tournament Football in India.
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