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Tokyo Olympics: Indian hockey comes of age once more with a. bronze medal

A brief overview of the significance of India's bronze medal in field hockey

Hockey India Bronze

Tokyo Olympics bronze medal winning indian hockey team (Source: Reuters)


Subhashish Majumdar

Updated: 2021-08-05T12:02:27+05:30

The Indian men's hockey team have created history by winning an Olympic medal after a gap of 41 years.

Manpreet Singh and co. showed their class en route to outplaying the Germans by a 5-4 margin in the bronze-medal match of the men's field hockey competition.

A billion Indian hearts very nearly stopped beating as the Germans earned a penalty corner with six seconds left on the clock.

Those well-versed with Indian hockey history will vouch for the fact the sense of unease was not without reason.

Several Indian teams have, in the past, conceded goals at the death, often through penalty corners in vital games - as the Malaysians did against India in the 2010 Asian Games semifinal and yet again in the semifinal of the 2018 Asian Games.

Yet on a warm Thursday morning in Tokyo, Manpreet Singh and co. stood firm as the Germans exhibited their famed skills, their physicality, and even their tantrums (which are rarely seen) as they attempted to achieve a fifth successive podium finish at the Olympic Games.

It was not to be, for even as Christopher Ruhr sprinted, shimmied, swayed, and dribbled his way into the attacking circle, the Indian defenders - and Sreejesh put in everything they had knowing what was at stake.

It was India's day in the Japanese capital, as it was in Tokyo in 1964 when the Indians beat Pakistan to capture their seventh gold medal - and their last, with all the major hockey powers in attendance.

The win was significant after the Indians had lost to their arch-rivals in Rome after winning six consecutive Olympic gold medals. Once more, the Japanese capital has proven to be a lucky hunting ground for Indian hockey

It is a moment that will go down in history as many tears are shed by the veterans who failed to achieve Olympic glory despite their brilliance.

The Indians have often for being criticized for being an emotional team who fail to stick to the game plan and yet, it was the emotion of being at the cusp of a special moment that pushed Graham Reid's team harder than the Germans when it mattered the most.

Several coaches like Roelant Oltmans and Harendra Singh who have contributed to rebuilding the side need to be remembered on this special day as the transformation has happened over a period of six to seven years.

Youngsters who wish to pursue the game now have heroes like Manpreet Singh to look up to as the mainstream media soaks up the moment like never before.

The journey has been fulfilling - and a gold medal in the Hockey World Cup in a couple of years time may just be the icing on the cake.!

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