The Indian cricketing fraternity lauded the women’s hockey for their historic win at the Tokyo Olympics quarterfinals over favourites Australia on Monday. Sachin Tendulkar led the way as the likes of Harbhajan Singh, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Wasim Jaffer, Mohammad Kaif took to Twitter to congratulate the Rani Rampal-led side for earning the right of India’s first-ever semi-final appearance in the Games.
Gurjit Kaur scored from the penalty corner in the 22nd minute that turned out to be the only goal and the difference between the two sides at the Oi Hockey Stadium North Pitch in Tokyo.
“Yesterday the men’s hockey team, today the women’s hockey team… Absolutely loving it. Well done to the women’s team for making it to the #Olympics semi-finals for the first time ever! The whole nation is behind you!” tweeted Sachin Tendulkar.
“Way to go Indian Women’s Hockey Team defeats Australia to reach the semi finals of Olympics 2020,” wrote Harbhajan Singh.
“Grit. Determination. Belief. Our women’s hockey team is weaving a golden chapter in our history. A performance for the ages that seals the semifinal berth. Well done, girls,” tweeted Mohammad Kaif.
“Our girls have created history. Beaten #AUS in the quarter-final match of women’s #hockey by 1-0 to seal their spot in SEMI-FINAL for the first time ever! Best wishes for the semis,” wrote VVS Laxman.
“Itni khushi shayad kisi jeet par mehsoos huyi hogi! Absolute Wow moment. First ever Olympics hockey semi-finals for our girls. Filled with pride. Chak De India,” wrote Virender Sehwag.
The odds were totally against India as in world no.2 Australia, a mighty unbeaten opponent, awaited them.
“We are so happy, it is the result of hard work that we put in for several, several days. In 1980, we qualified for the Games but this time, we made the semifinals. It is a proud moment for us,” Gurjit said after the match.
“This team is like a family, we have supported each other and found support from the country as well. We are very happy,” she added.
But the Indians, determined to prove a point, produced a strong and brave performance to eke out the narrow win over the Hockeyroos.
How much it meant for the team and Indian hockey in general could be gauged from the emotions that were on display after the final hooter went off.
The players screamed, hugged each other, and got into a huddle with their Dutch coach Sjoerd Marijne with tears of joy rolling down their faces.
India’s best performance in the Olympics came way back in the 1980 Moscow Games where they finished fourth out of six teams.