After a long wait of 35 years, Indian women’s hockey team has finally made it to the prestigious Olympics competition.
They qualified for next year’s Rio Olympics after Spain lost to England in semi-final at Euro Hockey Championships on Friday. Nine other teams, which have already secured their places for Rio Olympics are Korea as Asian Games champions, Argentina as Pan Am Games champions and Great Britain, China, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and the USA through the Hockey World League Semi-Finals.
Last time Indian women’s hockey team had qualified for the Olympics was in 1980 in Moscow, where they finished fourth.
Since then Indian women’s team has won more than a dozen medals in international tournaments including a Gold in Manchester Commonwealth Games and a Gold each in the Asian Games, Asia Cup and Afro-Asian Games.
India simply needed two of those teams to reach the final of the European Championships who had already qualified for the Olympics for it to secure its qualification.
An International Hockey Federation Release said, “India qualified after England defeated Spain in the semi-finals of the EuroHockey Championships in London, which ensured that the only teams who can now win the event have already qualified for Rio through the Hockey World League Semi-Finals – Netherlands and England (as Great Britain).”
In 1980, following the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, as many as 62 countries had boycotted Moscow Olympics. After the US President Jimmy Carter announced his country was boycotting the Moscow Olympics, other friendly nations followed his decision. The countries, which boycotted also included Pakistan, Malaysia and Korea.
Indian men’s hockey team had won Gold medal- the only medal won by the men’s team in Olympics event in last 35 years- in Moscow.