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Hockey Greats Laud CNN-News18's Tribute to the Sport

It was only through sheer destiny that the telecast of the show coincided with a historic moment as India won a silver medal at the Champions Trophy - their best show in the tournament.

Updated:June 20, 2016, 11:30 AM IST

The Indian men's hockey team ended its 34-year jinx on Friday to win a maiden silver medal in the Champions Trophy in London, their best show to date in the elite tournament and only the second medal since the 1982 bronze.

India held the mighty Australia 0-0 in regulation time before losing 1-3 in the shootout.

It was only through sheer destiny that the historic moment coincided with a show that paid tribute to the legacy of Indian hockey less than two months away from the Rio Olympics in Brazil.

CNN-News18's Sports Editor Digvijay Singh Deo travelled through the length and breadth of the country tracing the legends who were part of the show that kicked off the series 'India's Champions', which will take you through the journey of Indian sports and the hopes attached to the Rio Games.

Here is what some of those legendary players had to say after watching the show:

Ashok Kumar, son of hockey legend Dhyan Chand and part of the 1975 World Cup-winning team

"It was a stunning show. Our pride and proud - the game of hockey - was highlighted beautifully. While watching the show, I went back to the era of '60s, '50s, '40s, '30s. CNN-News18 has done it so beautifully and nicely. The entire credit goes to the TV channel's team and especially Digvijay Singh Deo. A big thanks to him. It was a heart-winning show. We got to watch the time when players used to play in different conditions with not so much facilities. Watching the legends winning the gold medal on a big platform still motivates and inspires all of us. Nothing can match it. Thanks for taking us back to that beautiful era. I really cherished those memories."

Vece Paes, part of bronze medal-winning team of 1972 Olympics in Munich

"It was a beautiful show. My generation of players must have cherished those days. Thanks to CNN-News18 for taking us down the memory lane. There are many players, including me, who have almost lost those photos and clippings. We call them beautiful memories. Last night, CNN-News18 gave that back not just to me but all my team-mates who watched the show. It was a valuable gift to us from the channel, and the credit goes to Digvijay Singh Deo. People got to know what is the history of hockey, how the legends struggled and showed their madness and love towards hockey. I just want to request for a copy of that show so that I can show it to my children and my grandchildren also."

Before the rise of cricket in India, it was hockey that ruled the heart of Indian sports fans with as many as eight Olympic gold medals. And one of the best cricketers of that era Bishan Singh Bedi recalled that.

"Good effort by Digvijay! I wish there were more 'action' reels in the episode. Also unfortunately our true hockey giants are not very camera savvy, nor very expressive as compared with the westerners, sad but true! It was my proud privilege to have personally known nearly all the great Olympians featured in the programme, except one. I'll always regret never having met Major Dhyan Chand. All in all a very sincere shot at the glory of Indian hockey. Well done!"

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