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Tokyo Olympics : Gurjit Kaur, the goal-machine who now loves the big stage

A brief overview of the contribution of Gurjit Kaur - India's ace drag-flicker

Tokyo Olympics :  Gurjit Kaur, the goal-machine who now loves the big stage

Subhashish Majumdar

Updated: 2021-08-04T20:17:09+05:30

While generalizations are always perilous, the most successful drag-flickers are all known to have some common qualities which set them apart.

They are often staid, serious, intense, and of stocky build, and betray little emotion as they stand and deliver from the spot, packing their flicks with menacing speed, pin-point accuracy, and a bit of guile as well that renders the best defences ineffective.

The ball hurtling at great speed, evading the advancing runners, and whizzing past the outstretched arms of the hapless goalkeeper is a sight to behold and one that sets the galleries on fire.

Much like Harmanpreet Singh, her counterpart in the Indian men's team, Gurjit Kaur rarely shows emotion - she goes about her business in a thorough and business-like manner, shouldering the enormous responsibility of being India's principal drag-flicker.

She began by powering her team to glory at the Asia Cup in 2017 and has now developed quite a fearsome reputation.

In the semifinal of the 2018 Asian Games, against China, the Indians seemed to be running out of options as the final quarter approached.

Neither side could score, and the match seemed to be heading for a shootout when India won a PC with eight minutes left. Gurjit found the top corner of the net to propel India to the finals at just the opportune moment.

Dutchman Toon Siepman has been credited with honing Gurjit's skills and the drag-flicker has only gotten better with time, as the world witnessed in Tokyo.

A historic goal in the Olympic quarterfinals, against Australia, has now won the 25-year-old from Punjab instant recognition on the world stage.

More was to come as Gurjit powered one home in the semifinals, against Argentina, as early as the second minute, but this time it was not to be for a winning cause.

A PC specialist can barely ever afford to rest on his or her laurels as every flick or variation is scrutinized by the opposition and one needs to innovate constantly.

Yet Gurjit mixes them up quite a bit by trying the right-top corner, the left-top corner, and sometimes goes flat too.

The girl who hails from a remote village near the border with Pakistan has made her country proud at the Olympic Games - and, there may be more to come as the bronze-medal match approaches.

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