The Indian women’s hockey team on Saturday secured their place for the next year’s Tokyo Olympics after a thrilling encounter with the USA. Even though the USA beat India 4-1, India won the overall competition on 6-5 aggregate.
In the first leg, India had defeated USA 5-1 on Friday in their match played at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar. However, they looked set to face the heartbreak on Saturday night when the US overcame their four-goal deficit and scored four quick goals in the first two quarters. However, Rani Rampal pulled one back to maintain the slender lead till the final hooter.
There was hope for India in the 43rd minute when they were awarded a penalty corner. But Gurjit failed to convert the corner into a goal as her shot missed the target.
It was left to Rani to pull off a spectacular goal in the 48th minute from a loose ball to give her team the much-needed lead over the two-leg encounter.
USA were awarded a penalty corner four minutes from the final hooter, but the decision was overturned after India went for a referral.
This is the second time in a row that the Indian women’s team have qualified for the Olympics.
Elsewhere, the Indian men’s team also qualified for the Olympics after they beat Russia 7-1 in their second match taking their aggregate to 11-3. In their first match, the Indians had thrashed Russians 4-2.