India at the
1920 Summer Olympics
British Raj Red Ensign.svg
Flag of India
NOCIndian Olympic Association
in Antwerp
Competitors5 in 2 sports
Flag bearerPurma Bannerjee
Summer Olympics appearances (overview)

India sent its first Olympic team to the 1920 Summer Olympics in Antwerp, Belgium, some twenty years after a single athlete (Norman Pritchard) competed for India in 1900 (see India at the 1900 Summer Olympics).

Background, team selection, and logistics

In his opening remarks during a 1919 sports meet at the Deccan Gymkhana, Poona, the Gymkhana President Sir Dorabji Tata expressed a desire for India to take part in the forthcoming 1920 Olympics. He requested Governor of Bombay Lloyd George, who presided over and distributed prizes at this sports meet, to secure representation for India at the Olympics through the British Olympic Committee. As a result, in February 1920, the International Olympic Committee granted India affiliation to participate in the Olympic Games. Thereafter, a committee comprising Dorab Tata, A S Bhagwat, Dr. A H A Fyzee, Prof Modak, S Bhoot, and three other Deccan Gymkhana members met in March 1920 to discuss India’s Olympic participation, and they decided to hold a trial meet in Poona in April 1920.

At this trial meet, the committee selected the following team to represent India at the Olympics: P.C. Bannerjee (Bengal) for sprints; P. D. Chaugule (Belgaum, Mysore) for the 10,000 m and marathon; Sadashiv Datar (Satara, Maharashtra) for the 10,000 m and marathon; H. D. Kaikadi (Hubali) for the 5,000m and 10,000m; Dinkarrao Shinde (Kolhapur) for bantamweight wrestling; and K. Nawale (Bombay) for lightweight wrestling. Sohrab H. Bhoot was manager and Dr. A H A Fyzee was medical officer and adviser for the team.[1]

Funding for the Olympic team came from Dorabji Tata (Rs.6,000 + Rs.2,000); the Government of India (Rs. 6,000); and donations from sportsminded residents of Bombay (Rs.7,000).

The team left Bombay on June 5 aboard the SS Mantua; it trained in London for six weeks at Stamford Bridge stadium, under English coach H. Parry; and proceeded to Antwerp. Chaugule in the marathon and Dinkarrao Shinde in wrestling put up a fairly good performance at the Games. H. D. Kaikadi appears not to have competed.[2]

After the Games, Bhoot submitted a report mentioning that India could have future Olympic success in hockey and wrestling and made recommendations concerning technical, organisational, and training issues for future Olympic teams. Further, the committee sending the team met again, and on the advice of Dorabji Tata, invited Dr. Noehren (Physical Director of YMCA India) to be secretary, along with A. S. Bhagwat, of the provisional Indian Olympic Committee; Dorabji Tata would serve as its president. This provisional committee sent an Indian team to the 1924 Olympics, and became the Indian Olympic Association in 1927.

Indian Olympic delegation 1920: (top row, l-to-r:) D. Shinde, Bannerjee, Navale, Chaugule; (middle:) Bhoot, Fyzee; (seated:) Datar, Kaikadi
Indian Olympic delegation 1920: (top row, l-to-r:) D. Shinde, Bannerjee, Navale, Chaugule; (middle:) Bhoot, Fyzee; (seated:) Datar, Kaikadi


Main article: Athletics at the 1920 Summer Olympics

Ranks given are within the heat.

Athlete Event Heats Quarterfinals Semifinals Final
Result Rank Result Rank Result Rank Result Rank
Purma Bannerjee 100 m Unknown 5 Did not advance
400 m 53.1 4 Did not advance
Phadeppa Chaugule 10000 m N/A Did not finish Did not advance
Marathon N/A 2:50:45.4 19
Sadashiv Datar Marathon N/A Did not finish


Main article: Wrestling at the 1920 Summer Olympics

Two wrestlers Kumar Navale (Pune) and Dinkarrao Shinde (Shivaji Peth, Kolhapur, Maharashtra) competed for India in 1920. It was the nation's debut appearance in the sport. Navale was defeated in his first match, but Dinkarrao Shinde won in the quarterfinals to reach the semifinals before losing twice to finish in fourth.


Wrestler Event Round of 32 Round of 16 Quarterfinals Semifinals Finals / Bronze match Rank
Dinkarravo Shinde Featherweight N/A Bye  Inman (GBR) (W)  Gerson (USA) (L)  Bernard_Bernard_(wrestler) (GBR) (L) 4
Kumar Navale Middleweight Bye  Johnson (USA) Did not




  1. ^ Dr. A H A Fyzee was administrator for the 1920 Olympic team; Dr.Ali Azhar Fyzee (AHA Fyzee) and his brother Ali Athar Fyzee also represented India in tennis events such as the 1924 Olympics Archived 2016-03-06 at the Wayback Machine and the Davis Cup and Wimbledon
  2. ^ British Library, series Untold Lives: India and the Olympic Games (august 2012)]