The Indian women’s hockey team created history by reaching their first-ever Olympics semi-final after defeating heavy favourites Australia 1-0 in the quarters in Tokyo.

 

 

 

A tremendous defensive effort from India followed Gurjit Kaur’s only goal of the game. Ultimately, it proved enough for a massive upset over the Aussies, who many had tipped for potential gold in the Games. Tears of joy marked triumphant Indian celebrations.

Goalkeeper Savita Punia was the star of the game for the Blues after managing to contain a string of Australian attacks throughout the match. The last penalty corner for Australia drew a jawdropping save from the Indian shotstopper in the dying minutes of the match.

 

The Rani Rampal-led Team India came into the quarter finals after a tough run of league results. They were embarrassed by Netherlands, Germany and Great Britain in the first three games and looked certain to crash out of the tournament empty handed.

But the 1-0 win against Ireland turned the tide before Vandana Katariya’s hat-trick against South Africa (4-3 win) helped India stay in contention for the knockouts. They finished fourth in Pool A, enough to face the leaders of Pool B in the final eight clash.

 

The Indian Women’s Hockey Team were darkhorses for Olympic qualification ahead of the Games. But they scored six goals in two games against the USA at the 2019 FIH Women’s Hockey Olympic Qualifiers to earn a place alongside the who’s who of women’s hockey.

They were dismantled 6-1 by the Aussies in their last Olympics appearance in Rio 2016, but their latest victory was a glowing testament of their fighting spirit. Alongside India, Argentina have made it to the semi finals of the Olympics. Netherlands are yet to play New Zealand in the third quarter-final while Great Britain and Spain will compete in the last knockout game of this stage.

 

This win follows the thrilling 3-1 win for the men’s hockey team in their quarter final against Great Britain on Sunday. Both the men’s and the women’s teams are one win each away from ending India’s medal drought at the Olympics.

Image: Twitter/WeAreTeamIndia