Goalkeeper Savita Punia who saved 9 shots against Australia initially didn't like Hockey
Savita made some massive saves as India defeated Australia to reach the Semi final for the first time in Olympics
Indian women's team had already created history when they reached the quarterfinals of the field hockey event at the Tokyo Olympics and became the first-ever Indian team to achieve this feat. However, it looked like Rani and co. weren't really satisfied with just a quarterfinal appearance and were ready to go one step ahead to reach the semifinals.
Their task couldn't have been more difficult as they were up against the current world no. 2 team Australia. The Indian team soaked up the pressure for the majority of the match and reacted on the counter. Gurjit Kaur scored the first and only goal of the match in the second quarter as India pulled off a massive victory against the Hockeyroos.
When India opened the scoring in the 22nd minute, the Australian's reacted and the Indian goal came under massive pressure and it looked like the equalizer would come in eventually. But the women in red amongst a sea of blue and yellow had other ideas, as Indian goalkeeper, Savita Punia kept plugging in save after save to deny the Australians. Savita was really impressive especially in the penalty corner situation as she used her body really well to cover all the angles and one can only imagine what the scoreline would've been if Savita wasn't in front of the goal.
Well, the imagination could've been a reality as the 31-year-old did not like the sport of hockey, especially being a goalkeeper, in her early days. The Haryana-born goalkeeper found the goalkeeping kit too heavy and would often find it difficult to move around in it, especially while playing in the tournaments. However, Savita's grandfather who is also one of her biggest supporters since she started playing hockey, was one of the biggest inspirations and probably one of the many reasons why she continued with the sport.
When Savita played for India for the first time, whose hero is Indian men's goalkeeper Sreejesh, she automatically made the headlines in the newspapers. Her grandfather decided to learn how to read at the age of 67 years, and one year later he would sit with Savita and read the news out loud and this would inspire her to keep getting even better at her sport.
To put in some perspective in terms of how great Savita Punia was in the quarterfinals, she faced a total of nine shots of which seven came from penalty corners. Savita Punia stood like a warrior in front of the goal and ensured India's victory, as the women's team reached their first-ever semifinals in the Olympic Games.