In India, while majority of the crowd is obsessed with men’s cricket, they tend to overlook all the talented home-grown players who are excelling in other sports such as hockey, football and the like. Most recently the Indian women’s hockey team made headlines by winning the Asia Cup but there are very few who would be knowing about it. People in India need to know about this win because this is no small victory. By winning the Asia Cup, the talented Indian team has secured qualification for next year’s hockey World Cup which is quite a big deal.
The road to the final was not a cakewalk. They were up against defending champion Japan in the quarter final and they knew that they could not let their guard down. As expected, it was a close match but the team managed to get the better of the opposing team. It was all possible because of spectacular goals by Gurjit Kaur, Navjot Kaur and Lalremsiami.
In the finals, they were up against China, two-time winners of the Asia Cup in 1989 and 2009. In fact, in the 2009 final, China had beat India 5-3. Of course, the team was on edge but they also knew that there was no going back. India, placed 13th in world rankings, took the lead through Navjot Kaur in the 25th minute but it was all in vain when Tiantian Luo converted a penalty corner in the 47th minute. The match eventually went into a penalty shootout. Here is when goalkeeper Savita produced a stunning save and helped India win the Asia Cup. It is not surprising that Savita was adjudged Goalkeeper of the Tournament.
In the past few years, sports fans in the country have started to appreciate sports other than cricket which is a good sign. We, as a country, need to put the spotlight on talented players making us proud in different sports because they deserve the same attention and acclaim.
It is heartening to note that Hockey India recently announced a cash award of Rs 1 lakh each to the 18-member Indian Women’s Team and Chief Coach and Rs 50,000 each for the support staff who were part of the Women’s Asia Cup 2017 success.