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Olympic history in India


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India took part in the Olympics for the first time in Paris in 1900. Norman Pritchard, an Anglo Indian on vacation in Paris at the time, represented the nation.

Norman Pritchard


The seeds of an organization to coordinate the Olympic movement in India were sown during India’s Olympic participation in 1920 and 1924 when Sir Dorabji Tata proposed the establishment of a national sports body to promote Olympic sport in united India. After the 1920 Games, the Committee that was sending a team to these Games convened and, at Sir Dorabji Tata’s suggestion, invited Dr. A.G. Noehren, the YMCA India’s director of physical education, to accompany them.

The All India Olympic Games (later known as the National Games of India) were subsequently organized in February 1924 by the All India Olympic Committee, which had been temporarily established in 1923–1924. Manager Harry Crowe Buck accompanied eight of the Games’ athletes who were chosen to represent India at the Summer Olympics in Paris in 1924. The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) was established in 1927 with Sir Dorabji Tata serving as its founding President and Dr. A.G. Noehren as its Secretary. This provided a boost to the growth and institutionalization of sports in India.

As member units of the IOA, Harry Buck and Dr. Noehren traveled across India in the ensuing months, assisting numerous States in establishing their Olympic Associations.

The Indian Olympic Association received official recognition from the International Olympic Committee the same year it was founded, in 1927.

Sportsmen were chosen by the Indian Olympic Association to represent India in the Olympics in its early years. From 1946 to 1947, the Indian Olympic Association was only in charge of sending the Indian team to the Olympics (basically, this involved making arrangements for lodging, food, and transportation). Competitors in each sport were chosen and trained by their respective National Sports Federations.

In light of this, the IOA Council decided in advance of the 1948 Olympics to enter a team that would compete in athletics, swimming, weightlifting, wrestling, boxing, football, and hockey. The team would also include officials from each sport and a chief manager. India started sending teams that represented a variety of sports starting in 1948; these teams were chosen by their respective National Sports Federations. Gaining money to send the National Team to the Olympics and pay for the associated travel, lodging, and food expenses was one of the primary obstacles IOA had to overcome.

As time went on, the IOA expanded its outreach to include more National Sports Federations and developed into a governing body that oversaw the delegation of numerous sports teams, each chosen by their own National Sports Federations, to the Olympic Games. Eventually, the IOA began sending national teams to the OCA and CGF Games as well.


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