Back on the Olympic turf after 36 years, the Indian women’s hockey team led by Sushila Chanu showcased an  efficient performance against Japan in their opening match at Rio, enforcing a 2-2 draw. They will now face Great Britain on Tuesday.

Also read:Making the cut: Indian women athletes​ to watch out for at the Rio Olympics

Indian women's hockey eves in form against Japan
The Indian women’s hockey team in action at Rio

In their historic appearance at Rio, the players put up a brave front to comeback strongly after a 0-2 deficit in the first half.

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On Monday, the team will face a stern challenge from Great Britain who had handed the team a 5-0 white wash when they had toured England in May this year as part of their Olympic preparations. However, women’s team Chief Coach Neil Hawgood is confident the team has moved on from that loss and is ready to put up an improved show. “The England tour was an exposure tournament. It was planned to ensure the girls understand their (Great Britain) game. It was the first time this team was ever playing Great Britain and there was a lot that we learnt from that tour,” Hawgood stated.

Indian women's hockey eves
Taking strike against Japan: The Indian players

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The Bronze medal winners from the 2012 London Olympics, Great Britain, will be aiming higher in Rio and have players who are among the best in the world. They have had a good lead-up to the Olympics with a semi-final finish in the Valencia Hockey World League Semi Final in June 2015 defeating China to book their Rio berth. They also took the title in the Unibet Euro Hockey Championship in London last August. Their Olympic campaign has got off with an impressive start where they beat the third-ranked Australians 2-1 in their opening encounter.

Indian hockey eves
Getting ready to face Great Britain: The Indian Hockey team

“Great Britain will be a tough competition for us. We really wanted to win the match against Japan but I am happy with the way we fought back. Britain has some really good players like Alex Danson, Lily Owsley, Kate and Helen Richardson. We need to do better with penalty corner conversion,” stated Sushila Chanu, Defender and Captain of the squad.

India at Olympics

We do hope the players up their game and put up a good show! 

Read more from our Rio series here

Read More Stories By Ria Das