Update on 6.11.2017
The Indian women’s hockey team led by Skipper Rani Rampal, played against China in the final match of the Asia Cup on Sunday, and won it 5-4.
Despite the efforts of Rani Rampal and Navjot Kaur, India got a much needed 1-0 lead only in the 25th minute of the match when Navjot and Rani played a clear game of give and take later assisting Navjot in netting a goal for the team.
China stayed disciplined and denied India a chance to score through a penalty corner. The first quarter was tensed as China’s Tiantian Luo converted a penalty corner into a goal. China won its fourth penalty corner of the match when it was less than 3 minutes left in the final whistle. But, it was brilliantly saved by Sunita Lakra after which Indian team scored penalty corners in order to win the match.
In the match, Skipper Rani Rampal scored twice while Monica, Lilima Minz and Navjot Kaur scored a goal each to ensure India’s win at the Asia Cup after 13 years. Savita was deservingly named the Goalkeeper of the Tournament and Monica won the Women of the Match award. With this win India sealed their spot as the continental team at the the 2018 Hockey World Cup that will be held in London.
The ASHF Asia Cup is a men’s and women’s international field hockey tournament governed by the Asian Hockey Federation. It was introduced in 1982 as a men’s only tournament. The Women’s tournament was added a year later as an unofficial tournament. It became official only after an official tournament was held in 1985.
The 2017 Women’s Hockey Asia Cup is the ninth tournament in the Hockey Asia Cup and that is being held in Kakamigahara, Gifu, Japan. The first match of the tournament was played between India and Singapore on 28th November, 2017 and the tournament will end on 5th November, 2017. The winner of this tournament will qualify for the 2018 Hockey World Cup in England. The Indian Women’s National Field Hockey team is ranked 12th in the International Hockey Federation (HIF) world ranking.
In their opening match of Pool A, the Indian Team led by Rani Rampal, started off with a dominating 10-0 win in their first qualifier match against Singapore. Skipper Rani Rampal (15th and 18th minute), Navjot Kaur (30th and 50th minute) and Navneet Kaur (3rd and 41st minute) scored a goal for India twice, whereas, Lalremsiami (18th minute), Deepa Grace Ekka (25th minute), Gurjit Kaur (41st) and Sonika (45th) each netted the ball once to ensure India’s win in the match.
After that, the Indian Women’s Hockey team registered their second consecutive win by 4-0 over China and displayed an all round performance. Gurjit Kaur (19th minute), Navjot Kaur (32nd minute), Neha Goyal (49th minute) and skipper Rani Rampal (58th minute), all scored a goal for India and ensured their winning momentum at Kakamigahara Kawasaki Stadium.
After that, the Indian team played against Malaysia in their last Pool A match on Tuesday, 31st October. With Vandana Katariya (54th minute) and Gurjit Kaur (55th minute) scoring one goal each, the team registered its third consecutive win and ensured its berth in the Quarter Final of the tournament.
In the quarter final of the tournament Indian team played against Kazakhstan. Kazakhstan set up a dominating aura around the match when Vera Domashneva scored a goal in just the second minute of the game. But in the fourth minute, when Gurjit Kaur, who was in a good form, netted a goal for India it gave the team a new confidence. After that Kaur herself pumped in two more goals (42nd and 56th minute), while Navneet Kaur also scored twice (22nd and 27th minute), and, Deep Grace successfully converted two penalty corners into goals which ensured India’s fourth consecutive win in the Tournament and secured their berth in Semi-Finals of the tournament. Kaur’s Hat-trick made her the leading goal scorer for India at the Asia Cup with six goals.
While we rejoice over the victory of the men’s team, no one seems to even notice that the women’s team is also playing in the same tournament.
After this extraordinary performance and four consecutive wins, the Indian media still gives more coverage to the Men’s Hockey Team and Men’s Cricket Team in comparison to the Women’s Hockey Team. While the country rejoices over the victory of the men’s team in the Asia Cup, no one seems to even acknowledge the fact that the team led by Skipper Rani Rampal is also playing in the same tournament.
The performance of the Indian Women’s Hockey team does not attract the attention of mainstream media. The Indian women’s hockey team has received the same coverage in the Indian media like any other daily news, whereas the Indian Men’s Hockey team received an ample amount of coverage in both digital and print media.
Due to lack of media coverage, more than half the country is not even aware of the fact that our team is playing in the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup, 2017 and some of them did not even know that there is an ongoing tournament like this. It is time for Indian media to give a proper amount of coverage to women in sports instead of just glorifying them after they win a cup or a medal for the country because media coverage highly affects the perception of people who follow sports.
In the final match against defending champion Japan, India’s top goal scorer for the tournament Gurjit Kaur converted a penalty corner into a goal in the 7th minute of the tournament. After that in the 9th minute two goals each from Navjot Kaur and Gurjit Kaur gave India a 3-0 lead by the end of the first quarter of the match.
In the 17th and 28th minute of the match Japan’s Shiho Tsujii and Yui Ishibashi scored one goal each for the defending champions. The score being 3-2, India still had an advantage at break. Lalresiami netted a goal for India in the 38th minute of the match which was also her first goal of the tournament.
Asia Cup Hockey: Indian women beat defending champions Japan 4-2, will meet China in Sunday’s final
— TOI Sports (@toisports) November 3, 2017
By the end of the third quarter the score was 4-2 and India continued holding the score for 15 minutes after the break. So, India’s Hockey Team beat defending champions Japan by 4-2 to seal their spot in the finals of the Asia Cup for the first time since 2009 India will face China in their final match.
Featured Image Credit: Zee News