The ladies did it! On Saturday, the Indian women’s hockey team confirmed their place in next year’s Olympic Games at Tokyo. In a tight contest against USA, the team came out on top as 6-5 winners on aggregate, despite losing the second fixture by 1-4 in the double-legged FIH Qualifiers in Bhubaneswar.
The first leg of the tie which was played on Friday, saw India produce a fantastic performance, thrashing the USA ladies by 5-1. However, the Indian girls looked out of touch from the very first minute of the game today, as USA quickly took a massive 4-0 lead during the first half. Striker Amanda Magadan scored twice in the 5th and 28th minutes, while skipper Kathleen Sharkey (14th) and Alyssa Parker (20th) added another two, equalising the aggregate score to 5-5.
India on the other hand, had to find a reply and in the third minute of the second half, Rani Rampal scored the crucial goal. Fortunately for the Indians, the American women were unable to find a winner by the end of the game.
The Indian women’s team first participated in the world’s biggest sporting stage at the 1980 Moscow Olympics but failed to qualify for the next 35 years. They were back in the tournament last term and qualified for Rio in 2015.