New Delhi: Exuding confidence that India has a good chance of qualifying for the Olympics and winning a medal in hockey, Kiren Rijiju, minister of state (I/C) for youth affairs and sports has said that the ministry would extend all support to the players, both individually and as a team. He would visit their training centre in Bengaluru to meet their coaches and discuss the requirements of the team.
Congratulating Indian womenís hockey team for their victory at the FIH Series Finals that were held in Hiroshima, Japan from June 15-23, he said that Indian team has played very well and made us proud.
[pullquote]India has now moved one step closer towards qualifying for next year’s Tokyo Olympics
They will now participate in the 14-team FIH Olympic Qualifiers to be held later this year[/pullquote]
With this win, India has moved one step closer towards qualifying for next year’s Tokyo Olympics, as they will now participate in the 14-team FIH Olympic Qualifiers to be held later this year. The qualifiers will be a bilateral two-match series, from where the winners of each of the seven matches will qualify for the Olympics.
India remained unbeaten throughout their campaign, scoring 29 goals and conceding just four. The womenís team recorded convincing victories over Chile, beating them 4-2 in the semi-final, and hosts and Asian Games champions Japan 3-1 in the final. Penalty corner specialist Gurjit Kaur was Indiaís leading goal scorer in the tournament with 11 goals.
Captain Rani Rampal added one more accolade to her growing profile, as she was adjudged the Player of the Tournament. There was also a special performance from 19-year-old Lalremsiami who played the semi-final and final, despite receiving news that her father had expired the day before the semi-final encounter.
The Indian womenís hockey team has played the Summer Olympics on two previous occasions, in 1980, where they finished fourth, and in 2016. With their improving fortunes on the global stage, having reached the semi-finals of the 2018 Commonwealth Games and earning a silver at the Asian Games, India will look to seal a berth in Tokyo later this year.