India win bronze medal in Tokyo, first Olympic medal in hockey since 1980
Tokyo Olympics, India vs Germany: India men's hockey team have won the bronze medal in Tokyo after defeating Germany 5-4.
India men's hockey team defeated Germany to win the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday. This is India's first Olympic medal in hockey since they won the gold medal in the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. It was a thrilling affair between the two teams that went right down to the middle.
India had to come back twice from behind in the match to level the scores and then had to push on to take the lead. Coach Graham Reid's side showed great temperament in the dying minutes of the match to script history.
India saw Germany take an early lead with Timur Oruz scoring within two minutes of the match. Germany troubled Indian defense in the first quarter, but could not find a way to extend their lead.
In the second quarter, India's Simranjeet Singh scored from a well-executed tomahawk shot, but defensive errors led to Germany scoring two more goals within two minutes. Just when it looked India might be in trouble, two penalty corners for India yielded results as Hardik Singh scored on the rebound from the first one, while Harmanpreet Singh stuck the second one with a superb dragflick onto the back of the nets to level the scores at 3-3 by halftime.
The third quarter was where the tide completely shifted in India's favour as Rupinder Pal Singh converted a penalty stroke after Mandeep Singh was tripped inside the scoring circle. Minutes later, Simranjeet Singh scored from open play after Gurjant Singh dribbled past German defence from right and pushed the ball to him in front of the goal. Simranjeet made no mistake and struck it into the net cleanly to extend India's lead.
Lukas Windfeder pulled one back in the final quarter from a penalty corner, but it was not enough for Germany to push the game to the shootouts. Germany received a penalty corner in the dying seconds of the match, but India goalkeeper PR Sreejesh made a fantastic save to deny Windfeder this time as Manpreet Singh and co. scripted history in Tokyo.
This is India's fourth-medal (and fifth confirmed) in Tokyo so far. Weightlifter Mirabai Chanu won silver in the 48kg category, boxer Lovlina Borgohain won the bronze medal in the women's welterweight category and shuttler PV Sindhu won a bronze medal in women's singles competition. Meanwhile, wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya has also confirmed a medal and will compete in the gold medal bout on Thursday afternoon.
It was a good journey for India men's hockey team in Tokyo Olympics, defeating New Zealand 3-2 in their opening group game, and then picking up wins over Germany (2-0), Spain (3-1), Argentina (3-1), and Japan (5-3) in the group matches. Barring the 7-1 defeat against Australia, and the 5-2 loss in the semifinal to the World Champions Belgium, India won all their games in Tokyo.
By Karan Prashant Saxena
UPDATED ON AUG 05, 2021 10:10 AM IST