Saturday, 28 January 2023

Indian Women's hockey team enter QF, creates history

Indian Women's hockey team enter QF, create history

Rani Rampal and her team waited for several hours after edging past South Africa 4-3 in hot and humid noon for their second win at Tokyo Olympic

Ireland vs. Great Britain contest - last of Group A - Decide the destiny of the Indian women's hockey team, either it would continue to stay in the Japanese capital or return home on the next flight home.

Delighted when defending champions Great Britain beat Ireland 2-0 in the evening, cover the way for India to enter the QF of Olympics, something that has never happened before.

Though India finished fourth in Moscow in 1980 - when women's hockey was introducing at the Games - the knockout game format didn't exist back then, with the top-3 in the league phase winning medals.

They had to wait for another 36 years before qualifying for the Olympics games. But at Rio 2016 games, they had a dismal tour, without a win and finishing last in the table.

Just like the men's hockey team regrouped after their 1-7 defeat from Australia, the women team also fought their way back into contention in Olympic Tokyo after getting defeated in the first three games against world champions Germany (0-2), Britain (1-4), and holders Netherlands (1-5).

The team first edged past in the 2018 World Cup runners-up after Ireland 1-0 on Friday. It then defeated South Africa at the Oi Hockey Stadium on Saturday to finish fourth in position out of six teams and qualify for the last eight behind Britain, Netherlands, and Germany.

Indian Womens hockey team enter QF create history 1getty image

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A hat-trick by Katariya's

If Rampal and Navneet Kaur were heroes of a win against Ireland, Katariya became the first Indian hockey woman player to score a hat-trick in Olympics games. Katariya scored in 4th, 17th, and 49th time, with Neha Goyal getting one in 32nd time.

Said India chief coach Marijne.

"The most key thing is that we won and got three crucial points,"

"It's not easy to play in current conditions - it's 35 degree Celsius the girls made a good attempt."

India started the match aggressively, making circle penetrations early on, immediately earned a penalty corner, which they failed to convert into goals.

Moments later in the match, Navneet made a brilliant run from the right and passed the ball to Katariya, who tapped in to give India the lead. South Africa put India under pressure in the last few minutes of the first quarter and found a way to equalize via Tarryn Glasby (15th).

India again went onwards by putting pressure on South Africa, earning another short corner where Katariya deflected Deep Grace drag-flick to helped India took a 2-1 guide to lead. India made several circle intelligence in the second quarter, but South Africa leveled again by scoring through captain Erin Hunter in the 30th.

Minutes in the second half, India earned through a penalty corner, converting it to a 3-2 to lead with Goyal diverting skipper Rampal's pass. But Marizen Marais, in the 39th min, soon got the ball in the Indian circle and was founded back to the net to make it to 3-3 level. Katariya once again comes to India's rescue when she redirects Gurjit Kaur's drag-flick to take her to hat-trick record.

India will now be facing Group B toppers Australia in the quarter-final on Monday.

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