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News for 06 August 2021

All the news for Friday 6 August 2021


2020 Olympic Games - Day 15

Tokyo (JPN)

Men's Medal games

5 Aug 2021   Bronze Medal  IND v GER   5 - 4 
5 Aua 2021  Gold Medal      BEL v AUS   1 - 1  Shoot out 3/4 - 2/5

Gold Medal        Belgium
SIlver Medal      Australia
Bronze Medal   India

Pool Standings

Pool A

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Australia 5 4 1 0 22 9 13 13
2 India 5 4 0 1 15 13 2 12
3 Argentina 5 2 1 2 10 11 -1 7
4 Spain 5 1 2 2 9 10 -1 5
5 New Zealand 5 1 1 3 11 16 -5 4
6 Japan 5 0 1 4 10 18 -8 1

Pool B

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Belgium 5 4 1 0 26 9 17 13
2 Germany 5 3 0 2 19 10 9 9
3 Netherlands 5 2 1 2 13 13 0 7
4 Great Britain 5 2 2 1 11 11 0 8
5 South Africa 6 1 1 3 16 24 -8 4
6 Canada 5 0 1 4 9 27 -18 1


Medal games

6 Aug 2021  Bronze Medal  GBR v IND   4 - 3
5 Aua 2021  Gold Medal      NED v ARG   3 - 1

Gold Medal     Netherlands
Silver Medal   Argentina
Bronze Medal Great Britain

Pool Standings

Pool A

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Netherlands 5 5 0 0 18 2 16 15
2 Germany 5 4 0 1 13 7 6 12
3 Great Britain 5 3 0 2 11 5 6 9
4 India 5 2 0 3 7 14 -7 6
5 Ireland 5 1 0 3 4 11 -7 3
6 South Africa 5 0 0 5 5 19 -14 0

Pool B

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Australia 5 5 0 0 13 1 12 15
2 Argentina 5 3 0 2 8 8 0 9
3 Spain 5 3 0 2 9 8 -1 9
4 New Zealand 5 2 0 3 8 7 1 6
5 China 5 2 0 3 9 16 -7 6
6 Japan 5 0 0 5 6 13 -7 0

FIH Match Centre



India break Olympic Medal drought with thrilling win over Germany



Tears of pain had flowed in torrents for 41 years. Today Indian hockey fans eyes’ were awash with joy as their team in blue overcame Germany 5-4 after a thrilling fightback to win the Olympic bronze medal at the Oi stadium in Tokyo.





Coach's words after Semi-final loss inspired us: Manpreet



Manpreet Singh, India captain, reflected on an epic victory against Germany to win the bronze medal, the country’s first hockey prize at the Olympics after 41 years.





Hard work paid off: Harmanpreet Singh



Harmanpreet’s drag-flicking prowess has been a key factor in India’s bronze medal-winning campaign.





Bronze medal win to link past, present and future

Twitter exploding. Prime Minister Narendra Modi phoning Indian captain Manpreet and head coach Graham Reid to offer congratulations. Millions in front of their TV sets all over the country and millions more gazing at their cell phone screens. The Olympic bronze medal win in Tokyo on Thursday brought Indian hockey under the sporting spotlight, as expected after the game disappeared under the radar for four decades.





Sreejesh's medal-winning save a defining moment for Indian hockey, says Muneer Sait

Sait, a former Olympic medal-winning goalkeeper, said India's jinx-breaking medal win in Tokyo will be a turning point for the sport in India once again.

S. Dinakar


“If Sreejesh had not made that save I don’t know what would have happened. India played with great heart, skill and spirit after going 3-1 down," said former India goalkeeper Muneer Sait.   -  PTI

The lasting image for Muneer Sait from India's dramatic Olympic hockey bronze medal clash on Thursday was goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh producing a spectacular save in the dying moments off a German penalty corner.

Himself an accomplished goalkeeper in the 1960s and 1970s - he won a bronze in the 1968 Mexico Olympics - Sait said India’s jinx-breaking medal win in Tokyo would give a huge fillip to the game in the country.

“If Sreejesh had not made that save I don’t know what would have happened. India played with great heart, skill and spirit after going 3-1 down. In Simranjeet Singh we have a very promising centre-forward. He is sharp in front of the goal and doesn’t hesitate to shoot,” Sait said.

Sportstar



Hopefully we've done our bit to revive Hockey in India: Reid



Graham Reid, head coach of the Indian men’s hockey team, reveals he wears a pacemaker. Given the last few pulsating moments of the bronze medal match against Germany, there would have been anxiety for his family watching in Australia.





Hockey legend Ashok Kumar's find Vivek Sagar Prasad is now a bronze medallist

How Vivek Sagar Prasad travelled from a small village in MP to the Olympic podium in Tokyo, his childhood coach and former medallist Ashok Kumar narrates his story

Shubham Pandey


India's Vivek Sagar Prasad (32) passes against Japan during a men's field hockey match at the 2020 Summer Olympics. AP

Vivek Sagar Prasad is an Olympic medallist at 21. He is also the first medal winner for any athlete born in Madhya Pradesh in almost 50 years. He will return to his home in a few days to Chandon, a tiny village near Hoshangabad, a small laidback town in Madhya Pradesh's Itarsi district, which is producing one athlete after another for the country.

In 2018, sailor Harshita Tomar from the same town went to Asian Games and clinched a bronze. At the same tournament, Aadhya Tiwari had taken part in the softball tennis competition. And now a hockey player from Hoshangabad, which falls under district Itarsi in MP, has produced not only an Olympian but an Olympic bronze medallist.

The Indian midfielder, who scored a decisive goal in the Pool game against Argentina, which helped India secure the quarter-final berth, is a discovery of one of the hockey greats Ashok Kumar, son of the legendary Dhyan Chand.

In 2015, during a local hockey tournament in Akola in Maharashtra, Ashok saw Vivek playing for the first time and he knew the kid was special. What caught his eye was absolute control and the run with the ball. He liked him so much that after the match was over, he walked up to him and offered him to join the MP hockey academy in Bhopal.

Speaking to Firstpost over the phone, the pathfinder was elated and was happy his name is now being taken alongside Vivek.


File image of Vivek. Image courtesy: MP Sports Academy

"I feel happy and glad that I am a part of his journey. People will remember me when they will talk about him," said a happy coach.

After getting the offer from Ashok, Vivek reached out to him twenty days later and said he wanted to come to Bhopal to train at the state academy. But where would he live? The selection trials for the academy were still four months away.

Ashok said, "Aaa jao, mere ghar rehna chaar mahine. (Come and live with me for four months)."

Vivek agreed and went to Bhopal, Ashok took care of him and made him play with the boys at the academy.

"He was there in my home as my son. He played with other kids in the academy," said Ashok.

Vivek began to rise through the ranks and was on the verge of selection for the Junior World Cup in 2016 but an accident while training in Bhopal broke his collarbone, to an extent that for months, Vivek could not even pick up a hockey stick.


File image of Vivek. Image courtesy: MP Sports Academy

It was Ashok who rushed him to the hospital and took care of him with his parents back home in Hoshangabad.

"I saw him train and running to the other end of the turf with the ball and then soon he collapsed. I ran to see what happened and then saw that a part of the collarbone had come out of his body," Ashok recalled.

Ashok drove him to the hospital and Vivek underwent surgery the next day. The surgery was 100 percent successful, says Ashok, but 15 days later the doctor called to inform about an internal injury that was an after-effect of the bone damage, which had become life-threatening for Vivek. The pus produced due to injury was going into Vivek's lungs. The doctor told Ashok, if the quantity of pus increased, it could be fatal.

The news shocked Ashok but there was nothing he could do. The doctor told him that medicines usually work in such conditions, but nothing was sure.

Luckily, they worked for Vivek and after two months, he was back on his feet and resumed his hockey journey.

"This kid has seen a lot, even in this short career, he has seen a lot. He fought back from a near-death situation to resume playing the sport he loves," said Ashok.

Vivek never looked back. In 2017, he was back with the junior side and led India at Youth Olympics in 2018 where they ended up as runners-up. He was only 17 when he debuted for India at the four-nation invitational tournament in New Zealand, becoming the youngest-ever to represent India in the sport. He went on to represent India at the Commonwealth Games 2018 as well.

Five months ago, before leaving for Olympics camp, Vivek again dialed up Ashok and said, "Sir, I wanted to come and meet you." Ashok was at his home in Jhansi and Vivek took a stopover at Jhansi, went to his him and took his blessings.

The only thing Ashok told him that night before Vivek boarded the train to Delhi was, "I want to see you playing in Olympics."

Vivek has done more than that.

Firstpost



On the day of India’s Olympic bronze, remembering a friend of hockey

Knowing B.G. Joshi was one of the gains from reporting hockey. His presence was an assurance of not missing out on little-known facts of the game and players. He was a true servant of the game, feeding stats to the hockey writers for free.

Vijay Lokapally



For Baboolal Goverdhan Joshi, a friend of 30 years, hockey was more than life. “Hum haaki (hockey) ke liye hee jiye hain,” he would not fail to remind you. Like the great dribbling guru Mohammad Shahid, even BG would refer to the game as “haaki.” He would sometimes make a conscious effort to call it “hockey”, but it was a game – forget how he pronounced it – close to his heart.

Knowing BG was one of the gains from reporting hockey. His presence was an assurance of not missing out on little-known facts of the game and players. Nothing brought him greater joy than an Indian victory on the hockey pitch. “We have forgotten how to win,” he would often lament, remembering the glorious moments from the Olympics and Asian Games.

“Aapke yahan se kaun jaa raha hai (who is going from your organization),” he would be anxious to know. The reason was his love for hockey. He would place a request for you to bring him some publications. An official souvenir, if possible. All to boost his treasure of statistics, so beautifully documented on notebooks and files in his home in Sehore, 40 kilometres from Bhopal.

He was obsessed with his art. He would call me to dig out information from old newspapers (stored in our office) and Sportstar magazine. I would oblige him happily.

He was a true servant of the game, feeding stats to the hockey writers for free.

As the hooter signalled India’s win over Germany in the bronze medal match in Tokyo on Thursday and the players sank on the pitch in joy and exhaustion, my thoughts went to the indefatigable BG. He would have been in Tokyo, but COVID-19 snatched him from us last April.

India wins Olympic hockey bronze: Graham Reid and Manpreet Singh on historic win

I have benefited from his statistical references. Once, wanting some statistical help, I called BG with my request. “Sorry, I have come to Indore,” he was needlessly apologetic.

That evening, I received a call from BG in the office. He had all the stats ready. “How come? You were in Indore,” I asked. “Ghar aa gaya main (I have come home),” his response had left me stunned. He travelled 150 km from Indore just to unearth the stats that I needed.

That was BG Joshi, a friend of hockey. He would have been the happiest man in Tokyo. Indian hockey should dedicate this win to him.

Sportstar



Belgium claim first gold hockey after shootout win over Australia


Players of Belgium celebrate on the podium after receiving their gold medals. — Reuters

TOKYO: Belgium won their first Olympic men’s hockey title, beating Australia 3-2 in a penalty shootout after the final finished in a 1-1 draw on Thursday.

The sides were locked in a close fight through much of the match, with Belgium forward Florent van Aubel giving the Red Lions the lead two minutes into the second half.

Australia equalised thanks to a goal by Tom Wickham, sending the match to the shootout, in which Belgian goalie Vincent Vanasch saved three attempts from the Kookaburras, including a retake from Jake Whetton following a video referral.

But Vanasch saved Whetton’s second try, winning Belgium the title.

“We were really focused and then I did the job at the end,” Vanasch told reporters. “I’m really happy. I think all of the Belgian people are proud today of the Belgium national team.”

Belgium had to wait an extra year to improve on their second-place performance in 2016.

“Standing on the biggest stage on the biggest podium for a small hockey country as Belgium is a crown on all the hard work,” forward Thomas Briels said. “And a lot of respect to all the teammates — we work so hard — and people behind the scenes of hockey in Belgium.”

Australia, who won the silver medal, claimed their last Olympic title in 2004.

“It’s a tough way to lose the gold medal,” Australia’s goalie Andrew Charter said. “We didn’t want to go to shootouts. We had the lion’s share [of the game] at the end. If you let it go to shootouts it can be a bit of a coin toss sometimes.”

INDIA END 41-YEAR DROUGHT

India took the bronze earlier on Thursday after a thrilling 5-4 victory over Germany, giving the country its first Olympic medal in the sport since the 1980 Moscow Games.

India forward Simranjeet Singh scored twice, including the winner.

“It’s a dream come true,” Simranjeet said. “We’ve made 1.3 billion Indians proud by finishing on the podium.”

The high-scoring match was not easy for eight-time Olympic champions India. Germany took an early lead through a second-minute goal by Timur Oruz, and posed a threat to India in the first quarter.

After Simranjeet equalised with a backhand shot, Germany kept their cool, scoring twice to take a 3-1 lead in the second quarter.

But India pulled level late in that quarter thanks to goals by Hardik Singh and Harmanpreet Singh, making it 3-3 at halftime.

India took a 5-3 lead after Rupinder Pal Singh notched in a penalty stroke and Simranjeet scored the winner not long into the second half.

Germany got one goal back and tried to force the equaliser, even taking out their goalkeeper to bring in an extra outfield player but they could not beat India goalie Sreejesh Parattu Raveendran who made nine saves in the match.

‘DANCING’ WITH JOY

The celebrations started simultaneously in Tokyo and across India for the bronze medal that’s taken 41 years to forge.

For the most successful nation in Olympic field hockey competition, the win ended decades of agonising over repeat failures since they won the last of their eight Olympic titles in Moscow.

India captain Manpreet Singh dedicated the medal to the country’s healthcare workers in the midst of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

“As the whole team and as coaches, we would like to dedicate this medal to our doctors and [health workers] who have been sacrificed for us and saved so many people’s lives there in India and everywhere in this world, he said. So we would like to dedicate this medal to those warriors.”

Families of the Indian team danced in the streets in Punjab state, waving hockey sticks in the air after the win. Other fans waved the Indian flag as they rushed out of their houses. Ten of the 18-man squad come from Punjab.

“The whole nation is dancing,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi told captain Manpreet and coach Graham Reid in a celebratory call to the team. He hailed the win as “historic”.

Dawn



Vanasch plays sweet tune for Red Lions in Olympic gold rush



A heroic shoot-out performance from Vincent Vanasch saw Belgium’s Red Lions land their first ever men’s Olympic hockey gold medal, seeing off Australia after a tense final in Tokyo.

“It’s history again”, said Rot-Weiss Köln’s Vanasch. “It was history at the World Cup, at the European Championships and now it’s history at the Olympics. I will cherish that moment for a long time. This team is a dream team.”

Commenting on his performance and how he handles himself in shoot-out situations, Vanasch said: “It’s just that we train so much. I’m like a musician, it’s a rehearsal and then you come to the concert and it comes naturally.

“That’s how I come on the pitch. I’m composed, but also I trust myself, I trust my reflexes and you can learn that from experience and that’s why today I did something like this.”

Both Vanasch and Andrew Charter, his opposite number in the Australian goal, made some stunning saves in the game before the deadlock was finally broken early in the third quarter when Dragons’ Florent Van Aubel pounced from close range with a cunning, lifted finish.  

Australia pulled level thanks to Tom Wickham’s brilliant overhead tap-in, showing his predatory instincts to force the ball over the line after both Flynn Ogilvie and Aran Zalewski kept the ball alive in the Belgian circle.

Both teams had chances late on, but in the end, it came down to a shoot-out to separate the two highest ranked teams in the world, giving the sensational Vanasch a chance to shine. The shot-stopper gave Belgium an early advantage when he saved Australia’s first attempt, slapping the ball away from the stick of Blake Govers before Van Aubel and Arthur de Sloover netted either side of Flynn Ogilvie to give Belgium a 2-1 lead.

Australia’s Tim Brand scored to keep the pressure on the Belgians, who then missed their next attempt when the usually calm and collected Felix Denayer lost control, with Australia’s Andrew Charter making the save.

However, when Vanasch denied the effort of Joshua Simmonds and competition top scorer Alexander Hendrickx slotted home a penalty stroke after Charter had fouled Victor Wegnez, the pressure was all on Australia’s midfield dynamo Jake Whetton. When the Australian player hit the post, Belgium’s players exploded in celebration, but an Australian video referral ruled that Vanasch had accidently fouled Whetton before his shot, resulting in a re-award.

However, Vanasch took the moment in his stride, stepping out to save Whetton’s second attempt and spark scenes of utter jubilation from all members of the Belgian contingent, and leave level-headed coach Shane McLeod unable to control his emotions, crying tears of joy.

Earlier in the day, India claimed an Olympic medal for the first time since winning gold at Moscow 1980, beating Germany 5-4 in one of the most dramatic bronze medal matches in Olympic history.

India fought back from 3-1 down to claim a sensational 5-4 victory over Die Honamas to seal their place on the podium this evening, with goals from Simranjeet Singh (2), Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh and Hardik Singh denying Germany a medal at a fourth successive Olympic Games.

Euro Hockey League media release



Silver Lining for Courageous Kookaburras

Catriona Dixon


The Australian team poses for a photo after the gold medal final match between Australia and Belgium on day thirteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Oi Hockey Stadium on August 05, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan

The Kookaburras' dream of an Olympic gold medal has ended in a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out but the result comes with a silver lining for a team who proved against all odds to be among the world's best.
Share this story

In a match full of suspense and emotion, Belgium emerged victorious 3-2 in the shootout after scores were locked 1-1 at full time.

The Europeans took an early lead in the cut-throat shoot-out, but their victory celebrations were premature with the video referee calling a foul and ordering a retake of the last attempt, giving the Kookaburras just one more chance to score.

But it was not to be, Belgian goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch proving the hero to give Belgium their first gold medal in Olympic men's hockey history.

The Kookaburras' silver medal capped a courageous campaign. They remained undefeated until the gold medal match and showed tenacity, togetherness and a standard of hockey that was world class throughout the tournament despite a tumultuous preparation.



In the past 18 months, they played just six international matches against New Zealand leading into the Olympics due to COVID.

The silver medal positions the Kookaburras as one of the most successful teams in Australian Olympic history having won 10 medals since the sport made its debut in 1908.

"I'm extremely proud," said Batch, who was an assistant coach when Australia last won gold in Athens in 2004.

"The players are hurting because they wanted the gold medal and did everything possible to get it.

"They had a great campaign, they did everything we asked of them and it will hurt for some time, but we are enormously proud of what they have achieved.

"In time, and on reflection they will have some joy in a silver medal, we just weren't good enough in the shoot outs but full credit to the way we played in the second half."



The result was bitter-sweet for four-time Olympian and co-captain Eddie Ockenden who had hoped to win gold after claiming two bronze medals in 2008 and 2012.

The Tasmanian combined with West Australian two-time Olympian Aran Zalewski to lead a team in Tokyo that boasted 10 Olympic debutants.

"It was a tough match," Ockenden said.

"It was such a close game, I thought we had the running at the end but just couldn't quite get there.

"Shoot-outs are tough. I prefer extra time. We couldn't get it done in the shootout."

Belgium signalled their intentions early in the match dominating possession and penetrating the Kookaburras' goal circle four times with shots by Antonine Kina and Sebastien Dockier ably defended by goalkeeper Andrew Charter in the opening quarter.

The Australians replied running three attacks on the Belgium goal with Tom Wickham taking a shot only to be denied by Vanasch to keep the score nil-all at the break.

Outstanding defence by Tim Brand, Matthew Dawson and Josh Simmonds kept the Red Lions at bay, shutting down two penalty corner attempts by drag flick ace Alex Hendrickx and another four shots on goal.

Belgium continued to dominate despite the Kookaburras building through the finesse of Jake Whetton, Josh Beltz and Lachi Sharp, but were unable to convert their attacking opportunities.

Just two minutes into the second half seasoned forward Florent van Aubel managed to beat Charter after a drive from Cedric Charlier to put the  Belgians in front.

Whetten and Wickham continued to press the circle gaining a penalty corner with five minutes remaining in the third quarter, but Vanasch was superb in defence to keep out Jeremy Hayward's drag flick attempt.

Wickham's persistence was rewarded in the 47th minute when he tapped in an aerial shot at goal from Zalewski to level the scores.

The Kookaburras dominated the final five minutes with Brand and Flynn Olgilvie creating opportunities along with Zaleski, but despite their dominance, they could not find a winner as full time signalled the gold medal would be decided by a penalty shootout.

In what was a nailing biting decider with Belgium having the upper hand early and Vanasch proving the difference.



The Olympic Final between the world's top two hockey nations lived up to the billing. Cruelly for the Kookaburras, they were not the ones celebrating at the end of an enthralling contest.

Match Details

    Kookaburras 1 (Wickham 47')
    Belgium 1 (van Aubel 32')
    Belgium wins shootout 3-2
    @ Oi Hockey Stadium, Tokyo

Kookaburras: 1.Lachlan Sharp, 5.Tom Wickham, 6.Matthew Dawson, 10.Josh Beltz, 11.Eddie Ockenden (c), 12.Jake Whetton, 13.Blake Govers, 14.Dylan Martin, 15.Josh Simmonds, 16.Tim Howard, 17.Aran Zalewski, 22.Flynn Ogilvie, 23.Daniel Beale, 29.Tim Brand, 30.Andrew Charter (gk), 32.Jeremy Hayward

Hockey Australia media release



Belgium men win Olympic hockey gold after shoot-out win over Australia

Belgium men beat Australia in a pulsating men's Olympic hockey final 3-2 in a shoot-out

By Rod Gilmour


Vincent Vanasch is engulfed by Belgium team-mates after Olympic final win PIC: REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

The prediction had come three years early. The wait at the Oi Stadium felt like an eternity. After a dramatic shoot-out, Vincent Vanasch stood firm on a retake as Belgium men became Olympic hockey champions for the first time on Thursday.





Belgium beat Australia in dramatic shootout to clinch first Olympic hockey title

By Liam Morgan


Goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch was the hero for Belgium as they beat Australia to win their first Olympic hockey title ©Getty Images

World champions Belgium secured their first Olympic hockey title after prevailing in a dramatic shootout with Australia following a gripping final at Tokyo 2020 here today.

Goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch was the hero for Belgium as he saved twice from Jake Whetton, the second after the video umpire had ordered the Australian's effort to be retaken, to give Belgium a 3-2 shootout victory and the Olympic gold medal they have so desperately craved.

A tense and nervy encounter, where both sides had prolonged periods of momentum and attacking pressure, had finished 1-1 at the end of the 60 minutes.

Florent van Aubel put Belgium in front two minutes into the second half as he bundled home from close range after the ball had found its way into his path.

Australia flew forward in search of an equaliser and it came early in the fourth quarter when Tim Howard's shot deflected up in the air and over goalkeeper Vanasch, leaving Tom Wickham with an easy tap-in to level the Olympic final.

While world number one-ranked Australia looked the more likely of the two sides, neither team were able to find a winner, leaving a shootout to decide the Olympic champions.


Belgium had to celebrate twice after the video umpire ordered an Australian retake in the shootout ©Getty Images

Vanasch, who had earlier made a spectacular diving save to prevent Jeremy Hayward from restoring parity for Australia, denied Blake Govers and Josh Simmonds in the shootout before Alexander Hendrickx scored a penalty stroke to move Belgium to the brink of victory.

Belgium thought they had won it when Vanasch stopped Whetton - they even began celebrating - but after a wait which seemed to last forever, the video umpire decided he had committed an accidental foul and ordered his effort to be taken again, adding another dramatic element to an already suspenseful situation.

Thankfully for Belgium the outcome was the same as Whetton saw his effort saved, confirming Belgium as the Olympic gold medallists for the first time in their history.

"It's history again," said Vanasch.

"It was history at the World Cup, at the European Championships and now it's history at the Olympics.

"I will cherish that moment for a long time.

"This team is a dream team."

The triumph saw Belgium, ranked second in the world behind Australia, complete their rise to the very top of the sport after a largely dormant period which included failing to qualify for seven straight Olympic Games between 1980 and 2004.

It also ensured they went one better than the silver medal they claimed at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, where they were beaten 4-2 in the final by Argentina.

Defeat for Australia means their wait for a first Olympic hockey crown since Athens 2004 goes on.

India had earlier claimed their first medal in the sport at the Games since they won gold at Moscow 1980 as they beat Germany 5-4 in a thriller to take bronze.

Inside the Games



Belgium beat Australia in shootout for men's hockey gold

Belgium won their first Olympic hockey title with a dramatic shootout win over Australia in the men's final.

The match had finished 1-1, with Florent van Aubel giving Belgium the lead early in the third quarter before Tom Wickham levelled it in the fourth quarter.

But in the shootout, Belgium goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch made three key saves for the world champions.

Earlier, India took bronze after a thrilling 5-4 victory over Germany.

It was their first Olympic medal in the sport since the 1980 Moscow Games.

But the day belonged to the Belgians, who won their country's second gold of the Games after gymnast Nina Derwael's success on the uneven bars.

"We were really focused and then I did the job at the end," said Vanasch.

"I'm really happy. I think all of the Belgian people are proud of the Belgium national team."

BBC Sport



‘We’d prefer extra-time over shoot-outs,’ say Australia players


Australia were beaten in a shoot-out for Olympic men's gold PIC: AAP Image/Joe Giddens

Aran Zalewski, Australia’s co-captain, said that the Kookaburras would have preferred extra-time to decide the Olympic final after the heartbreak of their shoot-out defeat following an exceptional men’s final.





Shane McLeod retires as an Olympic Champion Coach



Shane McLeod bids farewell to the Red Lions on a highlight. The New Zealander led the Belgian hockey players to the Olympic title in Tokyo in shootouts against Australia on Thursday for the first time in their history.





GB’s Women Win Thriller To Take Bronze



Great Britain’s women clinched bronze at the Tokyo Olympics with a thrilling 4-3 victory over India.

Five goals inside a frantic second quarter saw GB go from 2-0 up, thanks to goals from Ellie Rayer and Sarah Robertson, to being 3-2 down at half-time after India rallied.

GB responded well and equalised five minutes after half-time through captain Hollie Pearne-Webb in another entertaining quarter.

In what had been a gripping game throughout, Grace Balsdon’s brilliant drag flick at the start of the final quarter would prove to be the difference as GB took a well-earned bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

The result marks the first time ever GB’s men or women have recorded three successive medals at the Olympic Games.


GB celebrate winning bronze at the Tokyo Olympics. Credit: World Sport Pics

Great Britain started the game positively, bossing the early possession and limiting India to very little chances.

Giselle Ansley came close from a penalty corner only to find Savita in the India goal there to block the attempt.

Savita was on hand again to deny the best chance of the first quarter. Rayer had a shot from close range superbly saved by an outstretched foot before the ‘keeper showed quick reflexes to reposition and save Sarah Jones’ follow up attempt.

The game really roared into life in the second quarter as five goals were plundered in. Rayer flew down the by-line and flashed the ball across the face of goal only to see it knocked into the goal by an Indian player to open the scores.

A fast-flowing team move saw GB double the lead. Shona McCallin played a perfectly weighted final ball into Robertson who rifled the ball in off the post with a sublime finish on the reverse.

India wouldn’t take it lying down and immediately struck back. Two goals in two minutes, both from Gurjit Kaur, saw India tie things up through a brilliant brace of drag flicks.

The team didn’t stop there and took the lead just one minute from half-time. A scramble inside the circle saw the ball fall kindly to Katariya who slotted home from close range to make it three Indian goals in four minutes and stun GB.

GB came back strongly after the interval and within five minutes were level. Sarah Jones did superbly to create the initial chance with a purposeful run into the circle, the ball falling to the edge of the circle to Pearne-Webb who lashes it into the far corner.

India looked to make an immediate response and came close to restoring their lead. Two penalty corners in quick succession ramped up the pressure, but Hinch was again on hand to thwart the effort.

In an end-to-end fifteen-minute spell, GB enjoyed a flurry of chances of their own in a goal-mouth scramble before India came close from a penalty corner in the final minute of the quarter.

Great Britain restored the lead early in the final quarter thanks to Grace Balsdon’s thumping drag flick which would prove to be a decisive goal. Though there would be nervy moments, GB took the pace out of the match and worked hard to grind out the victory and secure the bronze medal.

This is the third consecutive Olympic medal earned by GB’s women following bronze at London 2012 and gold at Rio 2016. Laura Unsworth, who was part of all three teams, becomes the most successful British hockey player of all time – only eight British women have women more Olympic medals than her.


Grace Balsdon scored the decisive goal as GB's women clinched bronze. Credit: World Sport Pics

After the match, Hollie Pearne-Webb commented: "I’m incredibly proud of the squad. To the 16 who played and will get a medal, but also the three reserves who deserve a medal, plus the players at home not selected. We have 26 in the squad but so many more not selected. We've had a lot of turnover in the last five years, I wish they could all get a medal because they deserve one. That's why we're here and how we've achieved it.

"It's been a tough five years, at times we doubted whether we could do it, but we have.

"It's so hard to sum it up. We've not had many highs in this cycle, and after winning in Rio, that's the biggest challenge. To bring a group all together after so many challenges, I can't even remember them all! We've sacrificed so much to perform as best we could. A few months ago, an Olympic bronze was just a dream but I'm so proud we've done it.

“There’s been so many challenges, I can’t recall them all. Not just collectively as a team but individually as well. It’s been tough for everyone back home in the last 18 months and that’s been the same for us. Some of the girls, myself included, haven’t seen our families for over a year. We’ve been locked down, Christmas on our own, and we did that because we wanted to come here and give the best performances we could.

“An Olympic bronze a few months ago was in our wildest dreams so I’m just so proud of the whole squad, the whole support staff, everyone that’s been involved that we can come away with something from here.

"At half time it was just a big deep breath. Go back to our game and believe in ourselves. We came out in the second half really well."

Great Britain 4 (2)

Rayer (16’, FG); Robertson (24’, FG); Pearne-Webb (35’, FG); Balsdon (48’, PC)

India 3 (3)

G Kaur (25’, PC; 26’, PC); Katariya (29’, FG)

Starting XI: Hinch (GK), Unsworth, Toman, Martin, Townsend, Robertson, Rayer, Ansley, Pearne-Webb (C), McCallin, Owsley

Subs: Jones, Petter, Wilkinson, Crackles, Balsdon

Great Britain Hockey media release



Sacrifices All Worth It For Pearne-Webb And Hager



Hollie Pearne-Webb and Mark Hager have spoken about how the sacrifices made by the GB women’s squad in the last 18 months have been vindicated by winning Tokyo 2020 bronze.

The COVID-19 pandemic meant several members of the team have not seen their family for in excess of a year, while head coach Hager’s wife and children are based in New Zealand.

It’s been one of a number of factors that have made this a very challenging Olympic cycle for the team but they have overcome it all to secure a third consecutive medal at the Games, the first time a British hockey team has achieved this.

While there were 16 players on the pitch in Tokyo, both the captain and coach were quick to recognise that today’s success was the result of years of hard work by a huge group of people.

Pearne-Webb – who fired home to bring the scores level at 3-3 early in the second half – said after the game: “We very much rely on our whole squad. I wish every single one of them could get a medal, they deserve one. That’s why we’re here and have achieved what we have.

“It’s been a tough five years – really, really tough – and I couldn’t be prouder of them all. We’re all here because we still had that little bit of belief deep down. There’s been loads of times over the years where we doubted whether we could achieve this and I’m just so pleased and proud of everyone that we have.

“Last cycle was a rollercoaster, this cycle hasn’t been much of a rollercoaster because there haven’t been too many highs. There are a few girls here who experienced that massive high in Rio and I think after winning and achieving that ultimate dream, coming back from that is the biggest challenge.

    “An Olympic bronze a few months ago was in our wildest dreams so I’m just so proud of the whole squad, the whole support staff, everyone that’s been involved."
Hollie Pearne-Webb

“There’s been so many challenges, I can’t recall them all. Not just collectively as a team but individually as well. It’s been tough for everyone back home in the last 18 months and that’s been the same for us.

“Some of the girls, myself included, haven’t seen our families for over a year. We’ve been locked down, Christmas on our own, and we did that because we wanted to come here and give the best performances we could.

“An Olympic bronze a few months ago was in our wildest dreams so I’m just so proud of the whole squad, the whole support staff, everyone that’s been involved that we can come away with something from here."


GB's women won gold for a third consecutive Olympic Games. Credit: World Sport Pics

Hager, who took over as women’s head coach in January 2019, added: “For the girls it means a hell of a lot. It's so rewarding for the group. Four months ago, if you asked me if we could get a medal I'd probably have said no. We had belief so it's very pleasing.

“[What I said at half-time is] Probably not repeatable! We just had to do the basics better, stop the counter attacks. We dropped off after our second goal but then we started creating chances again.

“The biggest challenge for me was not seeing my family for 15 months; my wife, kids and grandkids. I'm not sure when I'll get home but obviously it's my priority after celebrating. It's been hard but I wanted to do my job properly. I have to thank people like Hollie, and the whole group. When they see I'm down they ask me how I'm doing and I'm very appreciative.”

Great Britain Hockey media release



Balsdon On Bronze: “It’s A Dream Come True”



Kate Richardson-Walsh once said that Grace Balsdon only scores rockets, and that statement would once again be shown to be true.

This time it would come on the biggest stage, at the most important of moments.

Having seen Great Britain level with India heading into the final quarter, Balsdon’s thumping drag flick would prove to be the game winner and earn the defender her first Olympic medal.

Balsdon reflected on the magnitude of the moment, saying: “The goal means everything. I really pride myself in my attacking penalty corners so it's a dream come true. We've worked super hard on them so it's a dream to see it come off like that.

“I’m extremely happy. We've worked incredibly hard, all the heat chamber work we've done has paid off. It's an unbelievable feeling.

“To get three medals is a special legacy to be part of. We've got such a good strong squad with real depth, and we'll look to continue it for years to come.”


GB celebrate winning bronze at the Tokyo Olympics. Credit: World Sport Pics

It’s been another incredible Olympics for GB goalkeeper Maddie Hinch.

Five years on from the glory of Rio 2016, when her incredible display during that shootout played a starring role in winning gold, yet more Hinch heroics would help the team to another Olympic medal.

Bronze at Tokyo marks three consecutive Olympic medals for Great Britain’s women – Laura Unsworth, Hinch’s long time teammate, appearing in all three – and the goalkeeper gave her thoughts on that achievement: “I’m so so proud of this group.

“It’s hard to put into words what this journey has been like. It’s been the biggest emotional rollercoaster since Rio, for me personally it’s been really tough.

“We deserve it here. We knew that if we could find the form that we’ve shown in pieces over the last five years and consistently put that together then we’d be in the running. To come home with a medal is just a remarkable achievement for this group and I’m just so proud of the girls.

“We like to keep things exciting don’t we! My heart rate was through the roof. There was a reason India were in this medal match, they’ve got a cracking corner and we knew that would be a big threat. We had to ride out patches, but we knew we had more goals in us and just needed to tidy up a little at the back to reduce their corner count. I’m glad it’s over!”

Great Britain Hockey media release



India women lose cliffhanger vs Great Britain in Tokyo Olympics hockey bronze medal clash

Gurjit Kaur’s twin strike equalised for India from 2-0 down. The teams were locked 3-3 going into the final quarter but Britain scored the all-important goal in the fourth.

By Abhishek Purohit


India women lose cliffhanger vs Great Britain in Tokyo Olympics hockey bronze medal clash Picture by Getty images 

India fought back to equalise from 0-2 down but Rio 2016 champions Great Britain edged them 4-3 to win the Tokyo Olympics women’s hockey bronze medal at the Oi Hockey Stadium on Friday.

Great Britain scored through Ellie Rayer (16th minute), Sarah Robertson (24th), Hollie Pearne-Webb (35th) and Grace Balsdon (48th). India hit back via Gurjit Kaur (25th and 26th) and Vandana Katariya (29th) but were unable to find the late equaliser.

It ended a dream run for the Indian women’s hockey team that had finished last at Rio 2016, having qualified for the Olympics after 36 years, and for a side that had lost its first three group games at Tokyo 2020, the third to Great Britain 1-4.

On Friday, India gave away a penalty corner in the second minute itself but goalkeeper Savita Punia palmed the British drag-flick over the goal. Savita Punia was in action at least four more times in the first quarter alone to deny the British.

The Indians were letting Great Britain run unchecked on the right flank in particular and make regular circle incursions. Moreover, their defence was exceedingly hesitant to clear the ball.

The Indian midfield and forward line weren’t in sync and their occasional runs into the British third lacked threat.

All those British surges on the right flank finally bore fruit early in the second. Ellie Rayer tore into the Indian circle, lifting the ball on to her stick and launching a cross which was unfortunately deflected into the goal by Indian defence lead Deep Grace Ekka.

Lalremsiami had a chance to equalise soon after but she took some time to set up for her reverse hit, and goalie Madeleine Hinch pulled off a superb save to her right with her stick.

India were a player down for two minutes when Nisha Warsi got a green card, and Britain doubled down immediately. Another cross from the right flank culminated in a spectacular off-balance reverse hit from Sarah Robertson, who went sprawling after the shot with her team-mates piling on top in delight.

Against Germany in the men’s bronze medal match, India’s Harmanpreet Singh had fired in two drag-flicks in the 25th and 29th minutes. It was Gurjit Kaur who stepped up now, converting successive penalty corners to haul India back at 2-2.

And like in the Germany game, the momentum had been forced to switch sides. Sharmila Devi now stormed into the British circle, dodging multiple defenders and having only the goalie to beat. She just missed.

Moments later, Vandana Katariya didn’t with a tap, following a goalmouth scrap after a Lalremsiami cross. In a matter of five minutes, 0-2 had transformed into 3-2 at half-time.

Great Britain regrouped and forced a penalty corner early in the third, but there was more life in the Indian defence now and Monika Malik intercepted the deflection close to the goal-line.

Nevertheless, the British equalised through Hollie Pearne-Webb’s strike fed by yet another cross following a right-flank charge.

Savita Punia was being called upon to make more saves as the Indians scrapped to maintain parity. India countered deep with a couple of seconds left in the third but Gurjit Kaur wasn’t on the field to take the penalty corner and captain Rani Rampal’s attempt off a variation found Hinch in the way.

The Indian women’s hockey team was weakened right away in the fourth as Udita Duhan received a yellow card for a rough tackle in the circle. Five minutes with 10 women was going to be hard to get away with. And even though India were brave in defence, Grace Balsdon put Great Britain in front off their seventh penalty corner.

As soon as Udita returned, Sharmila got herself a green card, still keeping India down to 10. They continued to fight, but a Gurjit drag-flick off India’s eighth penalty corner was saved by Hinch.

Navjot Kaur set up another opportunity with a brilliant reverse hit of a parallel cross only for Lalremsiami to miss the tap.

India asked for a last-gasp penalty corner for a British scooped clearance but it was deemed to be not dangerous. And that ended the Indian bronze dream, leaving even the great Rani Rampal in tears.

IOC Media release



Great Britain women land Olympics hockey bronze after dramatic win over India

Great Britain women won their third Olympic medal in a row after epic bronze medal match against India


Great Britain women have now won three Olympic hockey medals in a row PIC: REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

Players sank to their knees, both teams did. As temperatures nudged 42C on the pitch, mercury turned to bronze after this breathless encounter; a see-saw, pulsating match ending 4-3 to Great Britain women, who won a third succesive Olympic hockey medal.





Great Britain beat India to win women's hockey bronze


GB celebrate Great Britain have now won bronze at three Olympic Games - 1992, 2012 and 2020

Great Britain claimed bronze in the women's hockey at Tokyo 2020 with a thrilling 4-3 victory against India.

The 2016 gold medallists took an early 2-0 lead but fell 3-2 down in the third quarter.

They came back to draw level before Grace Balsdon struck the winning goal after a succession of penalty corners.

The win means it is the third Olympic Games in a row Great Britain have won a medal, after the women also claimed bronze in 2012.

World champions the Netherlands take on Argentina in the gold medal match at 11:00 BST.

Great Britain captain Hollie Pearne-Webb told BBC Sport: "It's been a tough five years and I couldn't be prouder of them all.

"We're all here because we still had that little bit of belief deep down and there's been loads of time over the years where we've doubted we could achieve this and I'm just so pleased and proud.

"This cycle has not been too much of a rollercoaster because there's not been many highs. Olympic bronze even a few months ago was in our wildest dreams."

There were tears at full time as Great Britain celebrated their third Olympic bronze medal.

India's women, competing for a medal for the first time, were unable to mirror the achievements of their men's team, who won bronze on Thursday to end a 41-year wait for a medal.

GB, who claimed gold following a dramatic penalty shootout victory against the Netherlands five years ago, were deserved winners in Yashio.

Elena Rayer's deflected cut-back opened the scoring for GB before Sarah Robertson's excellent reverse-stick strike made it 2-0 after a smart save from goalkeeper Maddie Hinch at the other end.

India rallied when Gurjit Kaur scored twice in quick succession from penalty corners and they went 3-2 up when Vandana Katariya capitalised on a scramble in the D.

GB re-grouped and captain Pearne-Webb scored a rare goal before the defending champions piled on the pressure in the third quarter.

Balsdon eventually scored the winner from another penalty corner routine and despite a few late attempts from India, GB held on.

'GB managed the pressure' - analysis

Kate Richardson-Walsh, 2016 Olympic gold medal winner on BBC TV:

GB managed the pressure phenomenally well, managed the clock and were clinical when they got their chances. I'm really pleased for that team.

India are so dangerous on the counter-attack and they're so lethal on penalty corners, so Great Britain had to be so diligent - and they were.

BBC Sport



India loses bronze play-off 3-4 to Great Britain in women’s hockey

The maiden Olympic medal remained out of bounds as world no.4 Great Britain, who were gold-winners in the 2016 Rio Games, came out on top in the pulsating encounter.


India’s Rani looks on while Team Great Britain celebrates winning the women's bronze medal on day fourteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Oi Hockey Stadium on August 06, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan.   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

Tokyo The history-making Indian women's hockey team's dream of securing its maiden Olympic medal remained unfulfilled as it lost 3-4 to Great Britain in a hard-fought bronze play-off match at the ongoing Games here on Friday.

The Indian women had already created history and surpassed all expectations by entering the semifinals of the Games for the first time.

But the maiden Olympic medal remained out of bounds as world no.4 Great Britain, who were gold-winners in the 2016 Rio Games, came out on top in the pulsating encounter.

The heartbreak came a day after the Indian men's team ended a 41-year-old medal drought by clinching bronze with a 5-4 win over Germany.

The Indians played their hearts out and overcame a two-goal deficit to lead 3-2 at half time.

But a desperate Great Britain gave their everything in the second half and scored two goals to snatch the match from India's hands.

India scored three goals in a span of five minutes through Gurjit Kaur (25th, 26th minutes) and Vandana Katariya (29th) to stun Great Britain.

But the Britishers found the net four times through Elena Rayer (16th), Sarah Riobertson (24th), skipper Hollie Pearne-Webb (35th) and Grace Baldson (48th) to emerge winners.

India's best performance in the Olympics was a fourth place finish in the 1980 Moscow Games. In that edition, there were no semifinals as only six teams competed in a round-robin format with the top two featuring in the final.

The Hindu



From almost failing to qualify, Rani Rampal's hockey team earns glory in Tokyo Olympics

The Indian women's hockey team, which were on the verge of missing the berth for the Tokyo Olympics, pulls off a spirited show by reaching the semifinals.

By Md Imtiaz


Indian hockey team after their win over Australia Indian women's hockey team after their win over Australia (Source: AP)

With the onset of November in 2019, the Indian women's hockey team tested their fate amid a full-house audience at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, for the bid to qualify for Tokyo Olympics. They played the minnows USA women's hockey team in FIH Tokyo Olympic qualifiers in a two-leg encounter.

For the full story click here

The Bridge has many quality stories  looking at the results, player reactions and feedback from India. Please look as the stories that interest you here



Heartbreak for India women's hockey team, lose bronze medal play-off to Great Britain

A maiden Olympic medal remained out of bounds for India as World No 4 Great Britain, who were gold-winners in the 2016 Rio Games, came out on top in the pulsating encounter.


India came from 2-0 down to lead Great Britain in the bronze medal playoff but were beaten 4-3 in the end at Tokyo Olympics. AP

Tokyo: The history-making Indian women's hockey team's dream of securing its maiden Olympic medal remained unfulfilled as it lost 3-4 to Great Britain in a hard-fought bronze play-off match at the ongoing Games on Friday.

The Indian women had already created history and surpassed all expectations by entering the semifinals of the Games for the first time.

But the maiden Olympic medal remained out of bounds as World No 4 Great Britain, who were gold-winners in the 2016 Rio Games, came out on top in the pulsating encounter.

The heartbreak came a day after the Indian men's team ended a 41-year-old medal drought by clinching bronze with a 5-4 win over Germany.

The Indians played their hearts out and overcame a two-goal deficit to lead 3-2 at half time. But a desperate Great Britain gave their everything in the second half and scored two goals to snatch the match from India's hands.

India scored three goals in a span of five minutes through Gurjit Kaur (25th, 26th minutes) and Vandana Katariya (29th) to stun Great Britain.

But the Britishers found the net four times through Elena Rayer (16th), Sarah Robertson (24th), skipper Hollie Pearne-Webb (35th) and Grace Balsdon (48th) to emerge winners.

India's best performance in the Olympics was a fourth place finish in the 1980 Moscow Games. In that edition, there were no semifinals as only six teams competed in a round-robin format with the top two featuring in the final.

As expected, Great Britain started strongly and had the lion's share of ball possession and chances in the first quarter.

The Indians made some circle penetrations but failed to create any clear cut chances and were also guilty of losing possession at the midfield.

India goalkeeper Savita Punia stood out in the first quarter, denying Great Britain on at least three occasions.

She first made a fine save from Great Britain's first penalty corner in the second minute and then pulled off a double save in the 12th minute to keep India in the hunt.

In between Great Britain also wasted another penalty corner.

Britain began the second quarter on the same pace and took the lead when Elena Rayer's push went into the net after getting a deflection of Deep Grace Ekka's stick.

Minutes later, the former gold-medallists secured their third penalty corner which yielded no result.

Lalremsiami came close to equalising for India only to be denied by the experienced Maddie Hinch, who brilliantly kept away the Indian striker's reverse hit.

India got their first penalty corner soon but wasted it.

Great Britain doubled their lead in the 24th minute when Robertson scored with a powerful reverse hit from top of the circle.

A minute later, India got two back-to-back penalty corners and Gurjit converted the second chance to reduce the margin.

Two minutes later, Salima Tete's brilliant run from the left flank earned India another penalty corner and Gurjit was once bang on target to draw parity.

The momentum shifted completely in India's favour as they started to attack with numbers and threatened the Great Britain goal frequently thereafter in the second quarter.

After Sharmila Devi hit wide from a one-on-one situation, the Indians stunned Great Britain when Vandana tapped in an open ball inside the circle to go into half time with a 3-2 lead.

Down by a goal, Great Britain were expected to come out hard after resumption and they did exactly that forcing the pace of the game, securing a penalty corner two minutes into the third quarter but India defended well.

But a minute later, Great Britain drew level through skipper Hollie Pearne-Webb.

The Indians then secured two more penalty corners but couldn't utilise them.

Savita stood like a wall in front of the Indian goal and pulled off some brilliant saves to deny Great Britain.

A second from the end of third quarter, India secured the seventh penalty corner but to no effect.

The fourth quarter completely belonged to Great Britain as they pressed hard on the Indian defence in search of goals.

The ploy worked as the Indian backline wilted under pressure and conceded four quick penalty corners, three of them in succession and Baldson scored from the last one with a flick that went through Savita's legs.

India had one more chance in the form of a penalty corner in the last eight minutes but Great Britain defended stoutly to deny Gurjit a hat-trick.

Thereafter, Great Britain did just enough to keep India at bay and to ensure a finish on the podium.

Firstpost



Bronze lost but hearts won: Indian women's hockey team signs off 4th at Olympics after narrow loss

The team had already created history and surpassed all expectations by entering the semifinals of the Games for the first time

The history-making Indian women's hockey team's dream of securing its maiden Olympic medal remained unfulfilled as it lost 3-4 to Great Britain in a hard-fought bronze play-off but the stout-hearted side managed to record its best ever finish at the Games here on Friday.

The team had already created history and surpassed all expectations by entering the semifinals of the Games for the first time.

But the maiden Olympic medal remained out of bounds as world no.4 Great Britain, who were gold-winners in the 2016 Rio Games, came out on top in the pulsating encounter.

India's best performance in the Olympics before this was a fourth-place finish in the 1980 Moscow Games but there were no semifinals in that edition as only six teams competed in a round-robin format and the top two featured in the final.

The heartbreak came a day after the Indian men's team ended a 41-year-old medal drought by clinching bronze with a 5-4 win over Germany.

The Indians played their hearts out and overcame a two-goal deficit to lead 3-2 at half time. But a desperate Great Britain gave their everything in the second half and scored two goals to snatch the match from India's hands.

India scored three goals in a span of five minutes through Gurjit Kaur (25th, 26th minutes) and Vandana Katariya (29th) to stun Great Britain.

But the Britishers found the net four times through Elena Rayer (16th), Sarah Robertson (24th), skipper Hollie Pearne-Webb (35th) and Grace Baldson (48th) to emerge winners.

As expected, Great Britain started strongly and had the lion's share of ball possession and chances in the first quarter.

The Indians made some circle penetrations but failed to create any clear cut chances and were also guilty of losing possession at the midfield.

India goalkeeper Savita Punia stood out in the first quarter, denying Great Britain on at least three occasions.

She first made a fine save from Great Britain's first penalty corner in the second minute and then pulled off a double save in the 12th minute to keep India in the hunt.

In between Great Britain also wasted another penalty corner.

Britain began the second quarter on the same pace and took the lead when Elena Rayer's push went into the net after getting a deflection of Deep Grace Ekka's stick.

Minutes later, the former gold-medallists secured their third penalty corner which yielded no result.

Lalremsiami came close to equalising for India only to be denied by the experienced Maddie Hinch, who brilliantly kept away the Indian striker's reverse hit.

India got their first penalty corner soon but wasted it.

Great Britain doubled their lead in the 24th minute when Robertson scored with a powerful reverse hit from top of the circle.

A minute later, India got two back-to-back penalty corners and Gurjit converted the second chance to reduce the margin.

Two minutes later, Salima Tete's brilliant run from the left flank earned India another penalty corner and Gurjit was once bang on target to draw parity.

The momentum shifted completely in India's favour as they started to attack with numbers and threatened the Great Britain goal frequently thereafter in the second quarter.

After Sharmila Devi hit wide from a one-on-one situation, the Indians stunned Great Britain when Vandana tapped in an open ball inside the circle to go into half time with a 3-2 lead.

Down by a goal, Great Britain were expected to come out hard after resumption and they did exactly that forcing the pace of the game, securing a penalty corner two minutes into the third quarter but India defended well.

But a minute later, Great Britain drew level through skipper Hollie Pearne-Webb.

The Indians then secured two more penalty corners but couldn't utilise them.

Savita stood like a wall in front of the Indian goal and pulled off some brilliant saves to deny Great Britain.

A second from the end of third quarter, India secured the seventh penalty corner but to no effect.

The fourth quarter completely belonged to Great Britain as they pressed hard on the Indian defence in search of goals.

The ploy worked as the Indian backline wilted under pressure and conceded four quick penalty corners, three of them in succession and Baldson scored from the last one with a flick that went through Savita's legs.

India had one more chance in the form of a penalty corner in the last eight minutes but Great Britain defended stoutly to deny Gurjit a hat-trick.

Thereafter, Great Britain did just enough to keep India at bay and to ensure a finish on the podium.

The Tribune



PM Modi says 'India is proud' of women's hockey team after loss to Great Britain

The Indian women's team finished fourth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, meanwhile, team Great Britain captured their third consecutive Olympic medal.


PM Narendra Modi says 'India is proud' of the women's hockey team after loss to Great Britain at Tokyo 2020 Olympics , Anurag Thakur Twitter

Indian women's hockey team went down fighting against Great Britain 3-4 in the bronze medal match here at Oi Hockey Stadium -- North Pitch on Friday. With this loss, the Indian women's team finished fourth at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, meanwhile, team Great Britain captured their third consecutive Olympic medal.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to congratulate the girls for their efforts and said that the country is proud of them.

    We will always remember the great performance of our Women’s Hockey Team at #Tokyo2020. They gave their best throughout. Each and every member of the team is blessed with remarkable courage, skill and resilience. India is proud of this outstanding team.

— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 6, 2021

Great Britain ted the match starts with a storming pace giving no chance whatsoever to the Indian forwards and in sequence creating very good opportunities for their forward line.

But Indian goalkeeper Savita Punia rose to the occasion with some brilliant saves and made sure to lead the team goalless into the second quarter. The GB team soon made their dominance count as in the second quarter after a brilliant run from the right flank by ES Rayer, they forced an own goal from Indian defender Deep Grace Ekka.

Soon, the GB team doubled their lead via a beautiful pacy field goal by Sarah Robertson after Nisha got the green card.

Indian team then dramatically shifted their gears and scored two goals in quick succession -- both via penalty corners through Gurjit Kaur -- to level the match against Britain.

Drag flicker Gurjit struck both PC to the left of Maddy Hinch and defence, giving them no chance whatsoever to even react. Vandana Katariya in the dying minutes of the first half gave the Indian team a very crucial lead with an absolute poacher of a finish after she latched on to a loose ball inside the D.

India led Great Britain 3-2 going into the second half. The second half saw more resolve from GB forwards. As they again stormed into the right flank and Pearne-Webb utilised a brilliant move as she came with a captain's magic to equalise for the European team.

A rough tackle in the D by Udita saw India going down to 10 players for 5 mins after she received the yellow card, early in quarter 4. Soon, the pressure and one-player advantage paid for Britain as Baldson gave the team lead through PC.

Indian forwards flocked GB's D in the dying moments of the match but the Rio 2016 gold medalists made sure to hold their nerves and see the team through to win the bronze.

Daily News & Analysis



This side did not win medal but achieved something bigger, says "proud" coach Marijne


The history-making Indian women team lost 3-4 to Great Britain in a hard-fought bronze play-off. PTI

A "proud" Indian women's hockey team chief coach Sjoerd Marijne would not ask his players to hold back tears after a heart-breaking defeat in the Olympic bronze medal match but wants them to cherish the reality that they have inspired the country with their lion-hearted show.

The history-making Indian women team lost 3-4 to Great Britain in a hard-fought bronze play-off.

Nevertheless, it secured its best ever finish, ending the Games in fourth position.                                

The team had already created history and surpassed all expectations by entering the semifinals of the Olympics for the first time.

"...first the emotion is about losing, yeah you want to win, but really is I feel proud. I'm proud of the girls, how they again showed their fight and skills," the Dutch said.

"And I said to the girls, 'Listen, I can't take away your tears. No words will help for that. We didn't win the medal, but I think we achieved something bigger, and it's inspiring a country and make the country proud.'     

"...I think the world have seen another Indian team, and I'm really proud of that."              

The Marijne also lavished praised on the players for the fighting spirit they displayed throughout the competition.  "And normally when Indian woman team is 2-0 behind they always went 3-0, 4-0, but now they keep fighting. We came back in the match, we even were one up."     

"They kept fighting. I told them, 'You just give everything you've got," he said. The coach hoped that his players will get a grand welcome for the tenacity they showed in the Games despite returning empty-handed.                             

"I feel so blessed to have been able to do these four and a half years for India. And I'm overwhelmed with reactions. And there will be a moment the girls will realise this.                             

"And I hope the country will embrace them and keep them in the heart,' Marijne said.

The Tribune



‘India hockey women players did something special at Olympics’: Britain girls in consolation act after heartbreaking loss

We didn't win medal, but I think we won something bigger, says Indian women's hockey coach


Photo tweeted by @GBHockey

Thankyou messages started pouring in for the hockey coach even as the Indian women team lost 4-3 to the Great Britain.  Soon as the game ended, the girls were on their knees and in tears. The coach, Sjoerd Marijne, consoled the girls and hugged them.


Deep Ekka of India is consoled after they lost their match. Reuters

Interestingly it was not just the coach, but also the opponent Britain team that consoled the Indian team.  

Great Britain Hockey tweeted, "Hockey India you've done something special at Tokyo 2020 - the next few years look very bright."

    What an amazing game, what an amazing opponent 🙏@TheHockeyIndia you've done something special at #Tokyo2020 - the next few years look very bright 👏 pic.twitter.com/9ce6j3lw25
    — Great Britain Hockey (@GBHockey) August 6, 2021

Marijne also took to Twitter after the heartbreaking loss. He wrote: "We did not win a medal, but I think we have won something bigger. We have made Indians proud again and we inspired millions of girls that dreams CAN come true as long as you work hard for it and believe it! Thanks for all the support!"

    We did not win a medal, but I think we have won something bigger. We have made Indians proud again and we inspired millions of girls that dreams CAN come true as long as you work hard for it and believe it! Thanks for all the support! 🇮🇳
    — Sjoerd Marijne (@SjoerdMarijne) August 6, 2021

    You have inspired more boys than girls! Every time you inspire a girl in India, you inspire at least two boys, be it education, sports, career or entrepreneurship. Salute for what you and the team has done!
    — James Joseph (@Pro_Bharati) August 6, 2021

India's dream of a bronze medal in their maiden entry into the semifinal by the women's hockey team came crashing down as it lost 4-3 to Great Britain in a playoff at the Tokyo Olympic on Friday.

The Indians played their hearts out, storming back after trailing 0-2 to take the lead but could not maintain the tempo as Great Britain scored the winner in the fourth quarter to claim the bronze medal, their third medal in three Olympic Games starting from London 2012.

Gurjit Kaur's brace of goals and one by Vandana Katariya went in vain as Great Britain struck through Elen Rayer, Sarah Robertson, Hottie Webb Pearne and Grace Baldson to seal victory.

The Tribune



Telling pictures of Savita Punia and Sreejesh after the match are worth more than one thousand words

Savita Punia with her brilliant performance wins billions of hearts


This picture says a thousand words. Reuters

It was heartbreaking on Friday to see the Indian women hockey team cry as Britain earned the bronze medal after a hard fight at the Olympics.

Especially watching Indian goalkeeper Savita Punia, the star of the Indian women's hockey campaign at the Olympics, breaking down as the game ended, was heartbreaking.

Also read: Goalkeeper Sreejesh sits on top of goalpost to celebrate Olympic win as teammates cry and hug each other, pic viral

‘India hockey women players did something special at Olympics’: Britain girls in consolation act after heartbreaking loss

And it all came a day after the men’s hockey team goalkeeper Sreejesh sat on top of the goalpost to celebrate the Olympic win as the men hugged each other and cried.

    Let me smile now 🙏 pic.twitter.com/8tYTZEyakU
    — sreejesh p r (@16Sreejesh) August 5, 2021

    Savita Punia was the star of this #Olympics for #TeamIndia Women's in #Hockey - the amount of saves she did was remarkable. If Mens have Sreejesh then Womens had Savita. #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/CU1FXwR2zJ
    — Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) August 6, 2021

    India’s Savita Punia inconsolable at full-time 💔😭😭

    What an effort! What a tournament she has had 🙌

    You have won a billions of hearts and made the whole country proud ❤️🇮🇳

    📸 Sony LIV#IND #TeamIndia #Tokyo2020 #Olympics #Hockey pic.twitter.com/DPAB9Nne19
    — Sportskeeda India (@Sportskeeda) August 6, 2021

Punia, who had made nine crucial saves against Australia to storm into semis, on Friday too, stood out with her remarkable performance, denying Great Britain the chance to score on at least three occasions in the first quarter.

She first made a fine save from Britain's first penalty corner in the second minute and then pulled off a double save in the 12th minute to keep India in the hunt.

The Tribune



Indian women's hockey: Sixteen stories of struggle, one tale of triumph


Neha Neha of Team India moves the ball past Mariah Williams and Savannah Fitzpatrick of Team Australia during the Women's Quarterfinal match between Australia and India on day ten of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Oi Hockey Stadium on August 02, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Getty Images

The Indian women's hockey team made history by qualifying for their first Olympic semi-final - they lost to Great Britain in a nip and tuck battle on Friday. But the journey has not been an easy one, writes Deepti Patwardhan.

"What will she do playing hockey? She will run around the field wearing a short skirt and bring a bad name to your family," Rani Rampal's parents were told.

Vandana Katariya was discouraged to play hockey because it was "unbecoming of a girl". Neha Goyal, born to an alcoholic father prone to violence, sought solace in the hockey field.

Nisha Warsi's mother worked at a foam factory to keep food on the family's plate after her father suffered a paralytic attack in 2015. Nikki Pradhan, who hails from the tribal belt of Jharkhand, laboured in paddy fields and started playing hockey with borrowed, broken sticks on gravel playgrounds.

They tackled the odds, ignored the naysayers and silenced the critics. They overcame.

Rampal, Katariya, Goyal, Warsi and Pradhan are only some of the protagonists in India's history-making squad of 16.

For the first time, the women's hockey team competed for a medal at the Olympics. On Friday morning they played their hearts out before going down 3-4 to Rio 2016 gold medalists Great Britain in the fight for bronze.

Even before they left for the Olympics, not many gave them a chance to progress into the knockouts. But they did.

In the quarter-finals they took on former champions Australia. They played with the kind of skill that the world associates with Indian hockey, and the kind of pace no-one had quite expected from them. They defeated Australia 1-0 on Monday to make their maiden Olympic semi-final.


Udita, Nisha and members of Team India walk off the field after losing 4-1 the Women's Preliminary Pool A match between Great Britain and India on day five of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Oi Hockey Stadium on July 28, 2021 in Tokyo, Japan. Getty Images

It was a momentous occasion for hockey, which is so intricately linked with India's sporting glory.

India once ruled field hockey, mainly when it was still played on a natural field. While the men were put on a pedestal, women were largely ignored.

India has won 11 Olympic medals, including eight golds, in hockey. But the women's team, which made its debut in 1980, has played in only three editions, including Tokyo.

Most of the women in Indian hockey came from impoverished backgrounds and were used to making do with meagre resources and official apathy. At times, the promise of a government job and a steady salary had to suffice over athletic dreams. It wasn't till 2012 that efforts were put in to improve the women's game.

Former Australian player Neil Hawgood recalled the diffidence in the team when he arrived as the coach in 2012. He had to convince them that he was there to help them succeed rather than blame them for the failures.

"We had to get them to trust us, and that was the biggest key," Hawgood told the BBC.

"Deep Grace Ekka and Sunita Lakra took about two years before they would look me in the eye…By 2014, that trust had been developed, and the team began to grow. Foreign coaches can say that (Indian players are meek), but to recognise and understand why that was there in the first place is and was where we made the biggest gains in the early years."

Under Hawgood, the Indian women's team qualified for the Olympics for the first time in 36 years.

Though the trip to Rio didn't quite go according to plan, they gained experience and some confidence. It proved to be an important first step, because it proved that they could work wonders when given the proper resources and tools.

With coach Sjoerd Marijne at the helm and Wayne Lombard revolutionising the way they train, Indian women's hockey has almost been brought up to speed.

In 1980, when the team travelled to Moscow Olympics, they were accompanied by a coach and a manager. At the Tokyo Games, they have a support staff of seven.


Mother (R) of Indian hockey player Gurjit Kaur offers sweets to her mother in-laws (L) as they celebrate after Gurjit Kaur won the women's quarter-final match of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.image

Over the last five years, the women's team has benefitted from a scientific, sophisticated approach towards the game.

Of the 16 players that are in Tokyo, eight of them had played at Rio 2016, giving the team a strong core. They have learnt from the experience, shared it and built upon it.

The pandemic threatened to throw a spanner in the works, but the Indian team stayed on the extra year in the Sports Authority of India campus in Bengaluru revising their lines, devising their plans.

India arrived in Tokyo prepared.

Their new-found confidence was evident in the way they refused to fade away against South Africa in the final group match or be intimidated by Australia in the semis.

Katariya, who once trained in isolation to hide from the reprimanding glances of elders in her village, thrived under the spotlight. She scored a hat-trick, first by an Indian woman at the Olympics, to help India edge South Africa 4-3 and stay alive in the competition.

Though there have been streaks of individual brilliance, like Katariya's, this squad of 16 will be remembered for their team work and commitment to each other.

They have all had their own journeys, their own stories of struggle, and have found strength in a common goal.

A lot of them had built their and their family's lives from ground up. Now, they are taking Indian hockey to greater heights.

Deepti Patwardhan is an independent sports journalist based in Mumbai.

BBC Sport



India women's hockey coach Sjoerd Marijne leaves on a high

The Dutch coach announced his departure after the last game at Tokyo 2020

By Soham Mukherjee


India women's hockey coach Sjoerd Marijne leaves on a high

Sjoerd Marijne has quit as the head coach of the Indian Women's hockey team after guiding them to a historic fourth-place finish at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

    "It was my last match with the team," he stated during a press conference after India's Olympic campaign came to an end with a 4-3 loss against Great Britain.

The Dutch coach took charge of the team for the first time in 2017. The Hockey India officials were so impressed with his work that he was asked to take charge of the men's team. However, he returned back to the women's hockey team after the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

In the Olympic qualifiers, India women's hockey team beat USA 5-1 in the first game. However, in the next match, they went down 4-1 and just about managed to make the cut for Olympics.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, Marijne stayed back in India and resumed the practice sessions as soon as they were permitted to train. In January 2021, the team flew to Argentina where they drew two matches and lost on four occasions.

In February, they set sail for Germany for another exposure trip as part of their preparations where the team lost all matches. However, they gained vital experience which helped them immensely.

At the Olympics, they had a dream run where they beat world no.3 Australia 1-0 in the quarterfinals. However, in the semi-final and in the bronze medal play-off, they lost to Argentina and Great Britain respectively to finish fourth, which is their best performance ever at the Olympics.

IOC Media release



Tokyo Games offer transfer hopefuls limelight to show skills

Daniel Leussink


Shane McLeod the coach of Belgium looks on. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

TOKYO, - For hockey players the Olympics are the ultimate stage at which they can showcase their skills in the hope of transferring to a club in a competitive league, such as those in Europe.

But the coronavirus pandemic has caused logistical hurdles due to travel restrictions and put pressure on club budgets which make it harder for players to move after the 14-day Tokyo Olympics hockey tournament finishes on Friday.

"The thing about the Olympic Games is that there's a kind of agreement that players are at their best at this particular time," said Shane McLeod, who led Belgium's men team to their first Olympic gold on Thursday as their head coach.

"It's a supermarket where you see all the happy goods on display at the highest level."

South Africa teenage prodigy Mustaphaa Cassiem won the hearts of global hockey fans when he scored against Belgium and the Netherlands at Tokyo 2020 and made the winning goal in his country's 4-3 triumph over Germany.

The 19-year-old forward's brother, Dayaan, who is 22 and also plays as an attacker, also caught the eye of many in South Africa's group stage games. South Africa is ranked 12th in the world rankings.

"They've got some speed on them and real skill," Belgium's Arthur van Doren, 2017 world player of the year, said about South Africa.

The pressure to show the best hockey at the Olympics is just as high for women players.

"I think it's extremely important to show high-quality play here," said Maho Segawa, 25, a mid-fielder for Japan's women team.

Segawa is hoping to play at a club in the competitive Dutch league or another European competition such as Belgium or Spain to get a chance to develop her hockey skills and style.

"If I can get the experience it will be a plus, so I think I want to go as soon as I can," said Segawa, who did a half-season stint on loan at a Spanish club in 2017.

But the COVID-19 crisis has raised the bar for going abroad.

"It put things on hold. It hasn't stopped it completely. You still get some who travelled across and are keen to do that," said McLeod before Belgium played the final.

"You can't just go for two weeks and then come back, not like that anymore. It has to be a two- to three-year commitment really."

Reuters



2021 Test Matches POL v FRA (W)
Wałcz (POL)

3 Aug 2021     POL v FRA     1 - 3
5 Aug 2021     POL v FRA     1 - 3

FIH Match Centre



Cindy Hack retires from International Indoor Hockey



SPAR South Africa captain Cindy Hack has announced her retirement from International Indoor Hockey. Hack who is the most capped African Indoor Hockey player became the first player to reach 100 caps against Ireland in December 2019.  She retires with 110 caps to her name and remarkably 108 goals.

“After a wonderful international hockey career, I would hereby like to officially announce my retirement from South African International and provincial hockey. I am eternally grateful for all the support over the years, and I feel privileged to have been able to represent and captain for my country on so many occasions for so many years. I am so excited to see what lies ahead for the incredibly talented young players! I look forward to supporting from the stands as the next generation takes the game forward!” shared Hack in announcing her retirement.

From her debut back in 2006, through two Indoor Hockey World Cups and the birth of two wonderful daughters, Hack has been the epitome of a professional. This in an amateur sport where she must still be a full-time mother and complete her day job working for the University of Free State. At an advanced age in hockey terms, Hack is playing with a youthful exuberance more so now than previously in her career. Much like a fine wine, Hack kept getting better with age!

Hack enjoyed tremendous success with the team in recent years leading them to the Croatian Cup as well as series victories over Switzerland, Ireland and Czech Republic, while sharing a test series with Poland away from home.

On the occasion of her 100th test match, Jamie Southgate, her national teammate for more exactly half her tests, was glowing in her praise of Hack.

“Since I have been in the team, Cindy has always been the busy bee of the team, if she is not playing hockey then she is working and if not working she is looking after two incredible daughters. Our captain fantastic, Cindy is an outright goal scoring machine, she has so much more knowledge and experience of the game which helps a lot of individuals find their feet in the national team, including me. Not only that, but her personality is so warm and welcoming that there is no fear to just be yourself. Cindy, along with the seniors, have played a vital role in installing a family orientated culture and I will forever be proud to call these ladies my family. Cindy is a pillar of strength in our team and possesses all the qualities of a true leader. Most importantly she is my friend, and I am so honoured to be able to play alongside someone of her calibre.”

SA Hockey CEO Marissa Langeni shared

“On behalf of the South African Hockey Association I would like to thank Cindy for her fantastic and unwavering dedication and commitment to the sport. Cindy has always carried herself with dignity and class and was a model representative for the green and gold. Well, we are sad we won’t see you on the court anymore, the impact you have had will be seen for many more years to come!”

SA Hockey Association media release



Khel Ratna Award renamed as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, PM Modi announces

India made a lot of progress in hockey at the Olympics as the men's team won the bronze medal and the women came in at the fourth spot.


Khel Ratna Award renamed Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award, PM Modi announces , PM Modi Twitter handle

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that India's highest sporting honour Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award has been rechristened as Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award.

The award was earlier named after former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi but has now be renamed in honour of hockey wizard Dhyan Chand. The change comes following the commendable performance of both men's and women's hockey teams at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

PM Modi took to social media to make the announcement and said he had been getting many requests from citizens about the same.

"Respecting their sentiment, the Khel Ratna Award will hereby be called the Major Dhyan Chand Khel Ratna Award! Major Dhyan Chand was among India's foremost sportspersons who brought honour and pride for India. It is fitting that our nation's highest sporting honour will be named after him," he tweeted.

India made a lot of progress in hockey at the Olympics as the men's team won the bronze medal and the women came in at the fourth spot.

The prime minister added that there is a renewed interest towards the sport across India and this is a very positive sign. The prestigious award carries a prize money of Rs 25 lakh.

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