Indian hockey team made a strong statement with the stick and with their off-field intention when they took on Pakistan in the Pool B encounter at the Olympic Park on Sunday. The Indian team wore black arm bands condemning the recent attacks on Indian soldiers along the Jammu and Kashmir border. On the pitch, India delivered a brutal blow to the neighbours by hammering them 7-1.
This is not the first time that a hockey team player has expressed displeasure and sadness at the lives lost in the valley. India’s usual keeper but currently injured PR Sreejesh had dedicated the team’s 2016 Champions Trophy title to the soldiers. There India had beaten Pakistan in the final.
India’s stand-in captain Harmanpreet Singh, who scored twice, said the players would use their sport to drive message home. “We wanted to win on the field today to show not only our proud nation but all the World that we will stand up and fight for what we believe in through sport,” he said in a release.
“The players of the Indian hockey teams have always shown tremendous belief and support for the Indian Armed Forces who guard the safety of our nation. They are proud of the nation’s soldiers and are often inspired by their dedication and sacrifice. As sportsmen, the Indian hockey teams have always shown solidarity and compassion towards the soldiers and have often dedicated their victories to the Indian Army. Today, the team strongly felt the need to condole the recent attacks carried out in Jammu & Kashmir where Indian soldiers lost their lives. It was a unanimous decision to wear black arm bands to condole these deaths and they wish for peace to prevail in the state of Jammu & Kashmir,” stated Secretary General of Hockey India Mohd Mustaque Ahmad in a statement.
With the win, India are now top of Pool B with three wins in three matches. They will take on Netherlands next.