New Delhi: Ashok Dhyanchand, former India hockey player and son of Major Dhyan Chand, on Thursday congratulated the men’s hockey team for winning a bronze medal in the ongoing Tokyo Olympics. It took 41 years, but the dream of every Indian was finally realised on Thursday as the men’s hockey team beat Germany 5-4 to win the bronze medal here at the Oi Hockey Stadium — North Pitch.
“This match will be seen as an example in world hockey, I have not seen a match like this for a long time. Coaching centres across the world will make everyone watch this game, the quality of the match was top-notch. After 41 years, we have won a medal. The government showed support towards every sport, Prime Minister Narendra Modi also rallied around the team,” Ashok said. The Men in Blue showed absolute resilience, strength, and winning spirit to register a remarkable comeback win against a strong German team. The German team got off the block very quickly in the first quarter after the Indian defence was caught napping. Timur Oruz scored past Sreejesh from the scramble in the D. The European team continued with their relentless pressure and got series of penalty corners which the Indian defence withheld brilliantly during the dying moments of the first fifteen minutes.
Graham Reid’s men responded well in the second quarter as the team scored a brilliant field goal from the counterattack. Nilakanta found Simranjeet with a long ball into the D and he finished the move brilliantly on the turn. Germany soon regained their lead from the goal by Wellen on the counter. After that, the floodgates of goals opened for both teams as Furk capitalised on the error of Surender to give Germany a 3-1 lead in the game. India again came back in the game as Hardik Singh pounced on Harmanpreet’s drag-flick to peg the Germans one back. In the dying moments of the first half, Harmanpreet Singh again came clutch for India with his superb drag-flick to level the match 3-3.
The second half started with a bang for the Men in Blue as Rupinder Pal Singh converted a penalty stroke and in the preceding phase, Germany lost their referral too. For the fifth goal for India, Gurjant beautifully outran the German defender on the right flank to find Simranjeet in the center as he scored his second of the match.
In the fourth quarter of the match, Windfeder converted the PC as he smashed the ball through the legs of Sreejesh and reduced the lead of India by one goal. But Indian defenders made sure they gave no chance to the German team to create any upset as they saw the match through with that one-goal lead. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday led the nation in hailing and celebrating Indian men’s hockey team’s historic bronze medal-winning feat. “Historic! A day that will be etched in the memory of every Indian. Congratulations to our Men’s Hockey Team for bringing home the Bronze,” tweeted Modi. “With this feat, they have captured the imagination of the entire nation, especially our youth. India is proud of our Hockey team.”
India’s only individual gold medallist at the Olympics and ace shooter Abhinav Bindra also cherished the “proud moment”. “An emotional moment for the entire nation, a moment of pride. The long wait has ended! Congratulations to the Indian Men’s Hockey team for their splendid achievement,” tweeted Bindra. Iconic cricketer Sachin Tendulkar also hailed the hockey team and praised the efforts of goal-keeper PR Sreejesh for saving a penalty corner in the dying moments of the game. “Congratulations to each & every member of the hockey contingent on winning the #Bronze (medal) for India! A fantastic hard fought win. The penalty corner save by Sreejesh in the dying moments of the game was amazing. Entire (India) is immensely proud! ,” tweeted Tendulkar.
Ace tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi was impressed with the approach of the Indian players. “Lion Hearts!!! Can’t say enough about the attitude, first coming back and then holding on. Congrats @TheHockeyIndia on making history. Truly emotional moment for the country. @allthatglittersisnotgold#Olympis,” tweeted Bhupathi. Sports Minister Anurag Thakur too congratulated the “Men in Blue’ for their performance.” “A BILLION CHEERS for INDIA! Boys, you’ve done it! We can’t keep calm! #TeamIndia! Our Men’s Hockey Team dominated and defined their destiny in the Olympics history books today, yet again! We are extremely proud of you! #Tokyo 2020,” tweeted Thakur.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, whose government has supported both the hockey teams, congratulated the team. “Brilliant in Blue. Congratulations Indian Men’s #Hockey Team on the spectacular victory to give us an Olympic medal after 41 long years. This historic win at #Tokyo 2020 will inspire generation of sportspersons. All the very best for the future. #Cheer4India @thehockeyindia,” tweeted Patnaik. India cricketers Shreyas Iyer, Harmanpreet Kaur also savoured the moment. “Terrific achievement and one for the history books! What a wonderful team! Congratulation’s boys,” tweeted Iyer. Kaur tweeted, “41 years was a long wait. Well done boys @manpreetpawar07 and Team. You’ve been stunning on the field. We are all so proud of you. Jai Hind.”
Former India pacer RP Singh said the bronze medal was no less than a gold. “Bronze looks like gold as it has come after 41 long years. Proud of our boys!,” tweeted RP. Noted boxer Vijender Singh, himself a former Olympic medallist, tweeted, “Well done boys.” (PTI)