The Indian women hockey team qualified for the Olympic quarterfinals reportedly after 41 years. They defeated South Africa by 4-3 and their entry to the quarter-finals was confirmed after Great Britain beat Ireland by 2-0 on Saturday.
The Indian team now stands at fourth place in group A league with six points. The team will now face pool B toppers Australia in the quarter-final match on Monday.
Before this, the Indian women hockey team had made it to the semi-finals in the 1980 Moscow Olympics but they had ended up in the fourth position. After 41 years, this is the first time the women’s team has gone so far as quarter-finals.
The Indian team’s historic win is the result of the history-making performance by Vandana Katariya who became the first Indian woman to score a hat-trick at the Olympics after 1984. Katariya made the final goal which made the team win the match against South Africa. Read more about her performance here.
Team captain, Rani Rampal said, “Today’s game was really tough, South Africa gave us a really good fight. They converted their chances in the circle. Defensively, we can be a lot better.”
Chief coach Sjoerd Marijne applauded the team for the win but was unsatisfied with the number of goals. He said, “We gave too many goals away, and I think we can score more goals, that is the main thing for today. We did what we had to do, we had to win this match, and we did.”
He added, “The tournament starts again. If you play well, or not well in the pool matches it does not matter, it starts all over.
“It will be another type of game because it is high pressure, everything or nothing. The good thing is we had that in the last two matches, so we have already experienced that.”