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SportHockeyTokyo Olympics: Indian women's hockey team loses 3-4 to Great Britain

Tokyo Olympics: Indian women’s hockey team loses 3-4 to Great Britain

Published: 6th Aug 2021 9:26 am

Hyderabad: Indian women suffered heartbreak as they went down fighting to Great Britain 3-4 in the bronze medal match, at the Tokyo Olympics here on Friday.

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Having made it to the bronze-medal match, the Rani Rampal-led side rallied from a 0-2 deficit to lead the Game at 3-2. However, Great Britain, the gold medallists from the Rio Olympics, rallied to victory. The World No.7 Indian team’s run came to an end. However, they won many hearts with their gritty show. Entering the Olympics, India were not considered favourites and a place in knockout was their realistic chances.

After narrowly making it to the Quarterfinals, they stunned World No.2 Australians 1-0 to enter semifinals. But they went down 2-1 to Argentina. India now finished 4th to end the tournament with their heads held high.

India’s best performance at the Olympics was in the 1980 Olympics where they finished fourth in the field of six teams. This is the first time they entered the bronze medal match.

After an insipid first half, Great Britain took the lead in the first minute of the second quarter. Deep Grace Ekka tried to thwart a stroke from Britain’s Elen Rayer but the ball deflected into the goal post off the Indian defender. Sarah Robertson then scored the second goal for Britain in the 24th minute. However, in the very next minute, Gurjit Kaur converted a penalty corner to reduce the margin and found the equaliser two minutes later on the another penalty corner.

Vandana Katariya then scored for India putting the Women In Blue in 3-2 lead going into the half time. The European team bounced back in the third quarter through a goal in the 34th minute through their captain Hollie Webb Pearne. The Indians tried hard and gave everything in pursuit of a goal but Grace Baldson converted a penalty corner in the fourth quarter to seal the bronze for the Britain team.

The Indian team was left in tears after letting go of the chance of their first-ever Olympic medal.

PM console tearful players

Shattered by the heartbreaking loss that saw them miss out on a bronze medal, members of the Indian women’s hockey team broke down during a telephonic conversation with Prime Minster Narendra Modi, who lauded the side for its inspirational display at the Tokyo Olympics.

Modi called the team after its agonising 3-4 loss to Great Britain in the bronze medal play-off on Friday and consoled the distraught players, who were seen sobbing. “All of you have played really well. You left everything in the past five years, sweating it out for the sport. Your hard work and sweat didn’t get a medal but it has become the inspiration for crores of girls in the country. I congratulate the coach and all of you,” said Modi as the team gathered around the phone.

Modi praised Vandana Katariya and Salima Tete for their performances. Katariya, whose family was subjected to allegedly casteist slurs after the semifinal match, scored four goals in the entire competition. “Vandana and everyone played well. And everyone though Salima was brilliant.” After a brief silence Modi urged the players to stop crying. “Please everyone, stop crying the entire country is taking pride in you. After so many years hockey, India’s identity, has been reborn.

This is all because of your efforts,” Modi said. The 70-year-old also enquired about Navneet Kaur, who was seen with bandages on her face to stop the bleeding from an injury during the match. Skipper Rani informed him that the forward had to get four stitches while thanking the PM for his encouragement. Modi also applauded head coach Sjoerd Marijne for his efforts.

“You have tried your level best, I am seeing how you have encouraged them. I am thankful to you, I wish you all the best for the future,” Modi said. Marijne responded, “Thank you for your encouragement sir. The girls are a bit emotional right now, but I have told them to take pride in what they have achieved.”

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