The 41-year-old wait is finally over.
Back in 1980 India won the gold medal in the Moscow Olympics and gave an account of their class and calibre. They had won their eighth gold and became the most successful team in the history of the mega event. From there on, their hockey was a witness to a downward trend. They slumped to an extent that they failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics after losing to Great Britain.
It was the first instance after 1928 that they failed to make an Olympics. At that point in time, things were doom and gloom for Indian hockey. However, the situation isn’t the same 14 years later. Thursday, August 5 turned out to be a historic day in Indian hockey. The team, led by Manpreet Singh won the bronze medal, beating Germany at the ongoing Tokyo Olympics.
India romp to glory in Tokyo
It was India’s maiden Olympic maiden in the last 41 years. The start wasn’t a handsome one for the Men in Blue as Timur Oruz scored in the third minute to push them to a 0-1 trail. In the second quarter, Simranjeet Singh’s tomahawk shot helped India draw the equalizer. However, Germany hit back brutally with two goals in as many minutes to push Singh’s men on the backfoot.
But Harmanpreet Singh churned out an exceptional drag-flick to make it 3-3 by halftime. In the third quarter, the momentum went completely towards India. Rupinder Pal Singh took India into the lead after he converted a penalty corner. A few minutes later, Simranjeet Singh scored from open play to give India a 5-3 lead. In the last few seconds, Germany earned a penalty corner.
Germany had a chance of taking the game into the penalty shootouts but failed to do so. But goalkeeper PR Sreejesh held his nerve and made a stupendous save as India scripted history. In the meantime, the cricket fraternity lauded the Indian hockey team for putting forth their A-game in the crunch game.
The cricketers were overjoyed by India’s massive victory. The likes of Harbhajan Singh, VVS Laxman and more players praised the team.
Here’s how the netizens reacted to Birmingham Phoenix’s win
— RAMESH POWAR (@imrameshpowar) August 5, 2021
— Khaleel Ahmed (@imK_Ahmed13) August 5, 2021
— Pragyan Ojha (@pragyanojha) August 5, 2021
— Navdeep Saini (@navdeepsaini96) August 5, 2021
— Parvinder Awana (@ParvinderAwana) August 5, 2021
What a team! What character shown! Congratulations to our Hockey team 🇮🇳🥉 pic.twitter.com/6O4eZgWyhz
— Krunal Pandya (@krunalpandya24) August 5, 2021
— Lisa Sthalekar (@sthalekar93) August 5, 2021
Terrific achievement and one for the history books! What a wonderful team! Congratulations boys 🇮🇳👏 pic.twitter.com/CArtZVH4LF
— Shreyas Iyer (@ShreyasIyer15) August 5, 2021
What a great morning!! Superb win!!
Breaking the streak after 41 years, that’s a marvellous moment!! We are proud of you, congratulations boys!!👏👏👏
— Ishant Sharma (@ImIshant) August 5, 2021
Four decades..that is the wait India has had to win a Olympic medal in #Hockey . Just makes realise the sweetness of this victory.
Our boy’s have done it. Should be a Watershed moment for the next gen. @TheHockeyIndia #IndvsGer pic.twitter.com/2EbnZbbfUz
— Venkatesh Prasad (@venkateshprasad) August 5, 2021
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) August 5, 2021
— Laxmi Ratan Shukla (@Lshukla6) August 5, 2021
Chak De Fattey ! Burraaah
A landmark day for @TheHockeyIndia
After being down 3-1, INDIA fights back to win the bronze medal match 5-3, a first Olympic medal in #Hockey after 40 years. Mazaa aa gaya #IndvsGer pic.twitter.com/0T3ssVPnRG
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) August 5, 2021
— Gautam Gambhir (@GautamGambhir) August 5, 2021
The 16 who scripted history:
Manpreet, Sreejesh, Harmanpreet, Rupinder, Surender, Amit, Birendra, Hardik, Vivek, Nilakanta, Sumit, Shamsher, Dilpreet, Gurjant, Lalit, Mandeep.
Remember them, cherish them,
tell your children about them. Let them inspire a generation🇮🇳 #indvsger pic.twitter.com/7ykehC46gC
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) August 5, 2021
— Anil Kumble (@anilkumble1074) August 5, 2021