By Mir Ranjan Negi
Indore: Chak De India! The moment of climax when the Indian women’s hockey team beat the Australian hockey team…a dream that many even feared would come true on Monday, thanks to the fighting spirit of the women who did not back down and played demonstrating their ‘fight-back’ attitude!
A new history has been created—a history that will inspire many and create new benchmarks for every sportsperson. The Indian women’s hockey team has scripted this history! They booked their spot in the semi-finals of the Olympics for the very first time in the last 41 years beating Australia 1-0 in the quarter-finals.
Rani Rampal and her girls will face Argentina for a place in the final, which beat Germany 3-0 in the previous quarter-finals match.
Recounting the match, there were several moments that can inspire anyone to dream and follow those dreams. It was the match of a century, where the Indian women’s hockey team made the entire country proud.
As we look at the team creating history, we must remember to look back and see these women. Most of these are women who have grown up with a lack of facilities. They have lived in poverty and imbibed a fighting spirit from their nascent years.
The Chak De moment is also that both teams are playing the semi-finals after more than four decades. It was a true and wonderful surprise for the entire country. After losing three matches, their attempt portrayed one thing clearly: ‘Fight back!’ Theirs was a come-back that hit the target after hitting a pole. When the match started, and they gave their first shot, the ball came back hitting a pole. It was a huge let-down for the team. But they did not give up, and fought back with more energy and spirit to win.
Not backing down, Gurjit Kaur scored the goal, converting a penalty corner at Oi Hockey Stadium in Tokyo, Japan.
Throughout all the quarters, the Australian team kept up the pressure, our girls did not back down. They stayed committed to their goal and worked patiently towards it. They wanted to prove themselves. They were persistent. The entire country watched the match. The last moments of the match had everyone on their toes praying for a win and… there it was, a victory to remember!
Goalkeeper Savita Guniya played a crucial role in bringing this moment to India. Savita literally gave it her all, and her saves of two goal-bound attempts kept the Aussie women at bay.
It is a new start…A new sun rose for hockey in India. People are talking only about hockey, and that, too, women’s hockey, in the country now!
If these warriors control their excitement, there is more to come. Excitement is normal, but if they control it and play with focus, they can win over Argentina easily.
I have been talking non-stop since morning about this achievement. It is a sign that Chak De is back! Our women’s hockey team rocks and is ready to take on the battle. They must just remember to be patient, persistent and grounded.
The writer, Mir Ranjan Negi is the former international player