Finals lost,but hearts won as India goes under in spirited fight

For the nearly 25,000 hockey fans who gathered at the Sector 42 stadium on Monday,the finals of the first Punjab Gold Cup offered a riveting experience.

Written by Nitin Sharma | Chandigarh | Published:February 10, 2009 12:12 am

For the nearly 25,000 hockey fans who gathered at the Sector 42 stadium on Monday,the finals of the first Punjab Gold Cup offered a riveting experience. Though the hosts went down 2-1 to Netherlands,the fans were impressed with the spirited show displayed by the Indian team.

“We hope that tournaments like these are held every year. Even though India lost the finals,we were completely thrilled by the way they played in the tournament. Both the teams played attacking hockey and India deserved to be in the final. We hope that the Indian team carries their fine form ahead,” said Ashish Dogra,a student.

Another hockey fan,Manavinder Ghuman,believes that tournaments like these will help further popularise hockey in the region. “Many of our friends came from places like Jalandhar and Amritsar. Hockey is very popular in Punjab and the tournament gave India a chance to display their skills against one of the best teams in the world. It also offered the public a rare opportunity to see the international hockey stars in action,” added Ghuman.

While the first half saw both the teams locked in a neck-to-neck mix of attack and defence,the second half was dominated by Netherlands who eventually edged India by a goal.

“Hockey needs such tournaments to gain popularity. More than 25,000 fans came to watch the finals which proves that hockey is still popular in the region. Holland and Germany are the world’s top teams and the Indian team must have gained some valuable experience. India will be play Australia next and we expect a fine performance Down Under,” said hockey fan Kanwalpreet Singh.

Now,a tournament for women
The Punjab government has announced that a similar tournament for women will be organised in the coming months. Talks are on with the hockey federation and Chandigarh may soon be seen hosting a four-nation hockey tournament for women.

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