1956 Pakistan Olympic Field Hockey Team

Today Oldest Olympians is taking a look into the Pakistani field hockey team that won the silver medal at the 1956 Melbourne Games, because this case contains elements of the different types of mysteries that we face while building our tables. While most of the players are either known to be deceased, or are too young to be among the Oldest Olympians, a few are right at home on the (digital) pages of this blog.

Our original objective with this post was simply to cover a silver medal mystery that we had missed previously. Habibur Rehman, born August 15, 1925, is the only medalist on the team over 90 about whom we are uncertain as to whether or not he is still alive. In addition to his silver from 1956, he was also with the squads that finished fourth at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics and won a gold medal at the 1958 Asian Games. Despite these accomplishments, we have been unable to ascertain if Rehman, who would be 94, is alive or deceased.

(Aziz Malik)

We then noticed that one of the alternates on the team, Aziz Malik, was actually an Olympian in his own right. Although he did not receive a medal in 1956, because he did not actually play in any of the matches, he was a starter for Pakistan at the last two editions, in 1948 in London and 1952 in Helsinki, both times of which his country finished just off the podium in fourth. His date of birth is usually listed as April 16, 1916, although some sources have the year as 1918 instead. Regardless, we could not find any confirmation of his living status, so he is also an Olympic mystery, just not officially a medal one.

Then there was the case of another alternate, Zafar Hayat, who was a non-playing reserve not only in 1956, but also in 1960 in Rome, when Pakistan finally earned its first field hockey gold medal. It was not until 1964 in Tokyo, when Pakistan was relegated back to silver, that Hayat earned an Olympic medal officially. Two years earlier, however, he had taken gold with the national team at the 1962 Asian Games. Complicating Hayat’s case is his uncertain year of birth: while some sources list him as being born on March 31, 1927, others have him as being born in 1937. Despite the decade-long gap, neither date would be outside of the realm of possibility for his career for a field hockey player of this era, and thus we cannot be certain if he even qualifies as among the Oldest Olympians yet. Regardless, we have no information on whether or not he is still alive.

Finally, in terms of alternates, there were two other reserves on the 1956 squad about whom we know nothing: Muhammad Amin and Muhammad Nasib. We know of no other results from them in any international tournaments, and do not have even a year of birth for either; given how little attention such reserves receive, we cannot even be certain that their names are correct. Our list of “possibly living” oldest Olympians only takes into consideration Olympians without a date of birth when they competed prior to World War II, because otherwise we cannot be certain that they would have even reached the age of 90 yet. The reality is, however, that many postwar alternates would now be well over 90 if still alive, especially in a sport such a field hockey. Amin and Nasib, therefore, add to the mystery surrounding the 1956 Pakistani Olympic field hockey squad.

Thus this case study highlights the many difficulties and caveats that plague our research here at Oldest Olympians. Still, it is work that we enjoy and such mysteries keep us on our toes, so we always enjoy sharing some of what goes on behind the scenes in order to add additional transparency and, we hope, credibility to our ultimate results.

35 thoughts on “1956 Pakistan Olympic Field Hockey Team”

  1. Pakistan’s Olympian Qazi Mussarrat Hussain who played in 1956 Olympics field hockey, passed away in August 2021.

  2. Very interesting post indeed. It instigates one to find more about the lives of five Pakistani Olympian.

  3. Aziz Malik was not a member of Pakistan field hockey team in 1956 Summer Olympics. Instead, it was Aziz Naik (note spelling difference) who was member of the team.

  4. Zafar Hayat, was not a member of Pakistan’s field hockey in 1956 Summer Olympics. However, he was in the 1960 and 1964 Olympics teams. It was another player Zafar Ali Zafri who was part of the1956 and 1960 teams. It may be noticed that both Zafar Hayat and Zafar Ali Zafri were in the 1960 team. Zafar Ali Zafri passed away on 2 April 2021 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

  5. Motiullah, a member of Pakistan field hockey team at 1956 Summer Olympics lives in Bahawalpur, Pakistan. He was also part of Pakistan teams at 1960 and 1964 Summer Olympics.

  6. Ghulam Rasool, who was member of Pakistan field hockey team in 1956 Summer Olympics, passed away on 24 December 1991 in Lahore (Pakistan). Reference: My personal contact with Michael Thomson, Principal, Aitchison College, Lahore (where the Olympian had remained principal 1970-78) ; and Salman Akhtar Rasool Chaudhry (grandson of Ghulam Rasool).

  7. The place of birth of Abdul Hamid, captain of Pakistan field hockey team in 1956 Summer Olympics, is not Bunno (Pakistan) but Bannu (Pakistan).

          1. Thank you but Mansoor Ahmed’s name still requires to be corrected in the following Biography on the same page:

            “Biography
            Manzoor Ahmed was a Pakistani hockey goalkeeper who competed at the 1988, 1992, and 1996 Olympics, winning a bronze medal in 1992. He was a hero for Pakistan in their 1994 World Cup victory. He also won three hockey medals at the Asian Games, with gold in 1990, silver in 1986, and bronze in 1994. Ahmed was the Pakistani flagbearer at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Opening Ceremony.”

  8. Some of my previous comments were not approved. Let’s discuss them again:
    1. Aziz Malik (https://www.olympedia.org/athletes/20017) represented Pakistan only in 1948 and 1952 Olympics (Reference:https://web.archive.org/web/20101201060817/http://www.phf.com.pk/olympic_teams.php). Therefore, entry of his participation in 1956 Olympics may kindly be omitted.
    2. Aziz Naik (and not Aziz Malik) was a (non-starter) member of Pakistan hockey team in 1956 Olympics (Reference: https://web.archive.org/web/20101201060817/http://www.phf.com.pk/olympic_teams.php) but a page about him does not exist which may kindly be created.
    3. Zafar Ali Zafri (https://www.olympedia.org/athletes/701737) was a (non-starter) member of Pakistan hockey team in 1956 Olympics ((Reference: https://web.archive.org/web/20101201060817/http://www.phf.com.pk/olympic_teams.php). Entry in this regard may kindly be made on his page.
    4. Zafar Hayat (https://www.olympedia.org/athletes/20076) was not a member of Pakistan hockey team in 1956 Olympics. Therefore, entry about his being a member of Pakistan hockey team in 1956 may kindly be omitted on his page.
    5. Ghulam Rasool (https://www.olympedia.org/athletes/19983) passed away on 24 December 1991 in Lahore (Pakistan) (Reference: https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=4856714154351935&set=a.218171861539544). Entry in this regard may kindly be made on his page.

    1. Hello, sorry about that! I will look into these shortly and make sure that they all get updated (and let you know when they do)!

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