Indian Women's Hockey Team
Indian Women’s Hockey Team. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Back in 2008, Indian hockey was going through one of its darkest phases. The men’s team lost 2-0 to Great Britain in the World Hockey qualifying tournament in Santiago. The loss meant that India failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics. It was the first instance when the eight-time gold medallist couldn’t make it to the mega event after their debut way back in 1928.

The women’s team, on the other hand, wasn’t even in contention for an Olympics’ berth. After India men’s team won the gold medal in the 1980 Olympics, things had gone downhill to a significant extent. 14 years down the line, the scenario isn’t quite the same. Both the men’s and women’s hockey teams have punched above their weight and have made the semis.

On Sunday, August 1, Manpreet Singh and Co qualified for their first semi-final in 49 years, beating Great Britain 3-1. On Monday, August 2, the women’s team rose like a phoenix from the ashes and qualified for their maiden semi-final in the history of the Olympics. Rani Rampal’s troops, against the odds, beat hot favourites Australia, the table-toppers in Group B, 1-0.

Gurjit scores in the 22nd minute

Australia went into the quarter-final after beating Spain, Argentina, New Zealand, China and Japan with relative ease. But in the must-win game, they couldn’t break India’s resilience. Drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur converted India’s only penalty corner in the 22nd minute to give her team the much-needed lead. In the third and fourth quarters, India played with caution.

Coming into the game, India needed to pull a rabbit out of the hat as the Aussies were the World No.2. Instead of crumbling under pressure, Rampal’s women showed nerves of steel. In the semi-final on Wednesday, August 4, India are scheduled to face Belgium. The hockey teams’ performances come after shuttler PV Sindhu gave India their second medal in Tokyo Olympics.

In the meantime, the cricket fraternity congratulated the India women’s hockey team for making it to the semi-final. From Ishant Sharma, Wasim Jaffer, RP Singh and many others, a number of prominent names in the cricket world, lauded the Women in Blue for their performance.

Here’s how the cricketers reacted to India’s victory


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