Updated: July 31, 2021 10:04:07 pm
Indian women’s hockey team qualified for the Olympic quarterfinals after it beat South Africa 4-3 and later defending champions Great Britain blanked Ireland 2-0 to ensure its passage into the knockout stage, in 2020 Tokyo Games on Saturday.
India finished their Group ‘A’ league proceedings in fourth place with six points, riding on back-to-back wins over Ireland and South Africa and will now face Pool ‘B’ toppers Australia in the quarterfinal on Monday. The top four teams from each pool made it to the knockout stage. Indian women’s team’s best finish at the Olympics was in Moscow back in 1980 when they reached the semifinals but ended fourth.
While Great Britain’s win was required, no one can take away credit from Vandana Kataria, who scored a hat-trick in India’s win in a pulsating morning clash against the South Africans.
Kataria (4th, 17th, 49th minute) achieved a rare feat by becoming the first Indian woman hockey player to score a hat-trick in the Olympics. Young Neha Goyal (32nd) was the other scorer.
2️⃣/2️⃣ successful penalty corner attempts by #IND‘s Vandana Katariya in their clash against #RSA today! She became the first Indian woman to score a hat-trick at the Olympics.#Tokyo2020 | #UnitedByEmotion | #StrongerTogether | #Hockey pic.twitter.com/VxSUwJOA7s
— #Tokyo2020 for India (@Tokyo2020hi) July 31, 2021
South Africa’s goals came from the sticks of Tarryn Glasby (15th), skipper Erin Hunter (30th) and Marizen Marais (39th).
“Today’s game was really tough, South Africa gave us a really good fight. They converted their chances in the circle. Defensively, we can be a lot better,” skipper Rani said.
India’s chief coach Sjoerd Marijne heaved a sigh of relief but was not happy with the number of goals his side conceded.
“We gave too many goals away, and I think we can score more goals, that is the main thing for today. We did what we had to do, we had to win this match, and we did. Playing in these circumstances, you feel it, the humidity and I think it’s more than 35 degrees on the pitch, it does not make it easy,” the Indian national coach told PTI in Tokyo in a post match interaction.
“The tournament starts again. If you play well, or not well in the pool matches it does not matter, it starts all over,” he added.
Elsewhere, for India, it was a day of disappointments, as boxer Amit Panghal bowed out in his round of 16 bout against Colombia’s Yurberjen Martinez. Archer Atanu Das also went down in men’s individual pre-quarters.
In another positive news, discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur made it to the finals after finishing second in qualifying.
Following are the complete results of Indian athletes participating in the Olympics on day five of competitions here:
Reigning world champion P V Sindhu slumped to a 18-21 12-21 defeat against world number one Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei in the women’s singles semifinals. She will now fight for bronze on Sunday against China’s He Bing Jiao.
Striker Vandana Katariya scored a historic hat-trick to help Indian women’s hockey beat South Africa 4-3. In other result, Great Britain beat Ireland 2-0 to clear India’s passage into quarterfinals.
Discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur produced one of the best performances by an Indian in the Olympics with a throw of 64m to be one of the only two automatic qualifiers for the final round. Seema Punia made an exit after finishing sixth in qualification A and 16th overall with a below-par best throw of 60.57m.
Amit Panghal (52kg) and Pooja Rani bowed out of the Olympics after suffering crushing defeats. Panghal lost 1-4 to Rio Games silver-medallist Yuberjen Martinez. Pooja lost 0-5 to China’s Qian Li.
Atanu Das lost 4-6 to Japan’s in the men’s individual pre-quarterfinals to make exit from the Games. India’s challenged ended in the sport.
Anjum Moudgil and Tejaswini Sawant could not make the finals of the women’s 50m rifle 3 positions event, settling for the 15th and 33rd position respectively.
Sailing pair of KC Ganapathy and Varun Thakkar stayed at 17th position overall after the penultimate race in the men’s skiff 49er event.
(With PTI inputs)
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