The Indian team’s triumph at the women’s Asian Champions Trophy hockey championship was a reminder that here is team to watch out for

Indian Women’s Hockey Team with the Asian Champions Trophy (Image: Hockey India)

In continuation of an inspiring show at the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021, the Indian women’s hockey team showed that it was no flash in the pan. They won the Asian Champions Trophy held in Ranchi in October-November. In an exciting final, India outplayed Japan 4-0.

The atmosphere was vibrant at the Jaipal Singh Stadium, where the home team took on Japan in a match that should be remembered for the Indian team’s unrelenting quest for glory. Fuelled by determination and focus, these women left an unforgettable mark, securing a resounding victory.

Opening the charge was local talent Sangita Kumari, in the 17th minute. After her, Neha Goyal (46th), Lalremsiami (57th) and Vandana Katariya (60th) completed India’s domination. It was Indias second triumph in this continental championship. The first one had come in 2016, in Singapore.

More than just the title, this victory signified the dedication and skill of the Indian womens hockey team, which has been guided expertly by coach Janneke Schopman. Their journey to triumph began in December 2022, when they clinched the FIH Nations Cup in Valencia, earning a well-deserved spot in the Pro League.

The final faced an unexpected hurdle, with a 50-minute delay due to a technical glitch in one of the floodlights. Nevertheless, once the game began, India showcased aggression and dominance, egged on by the spirited cheers of the mens team in the audience.

From the opening moments, the hosts displayed attacking intent, probing Japans defence relentlessly. The deadlock was broken when Navneet Kaurs exceptional run set the stage for Neha to assist Sangita, sparking jubilation among the 10,000-strong crowd.

Captain Savita Punia was a towering figure in the goal, making spectacular saves, including three successive penalty corners and a crucial penalty stroke in the final quarter. Her leadership and unwavering resilience played a pivotal role in this remarkable victory.

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