INDIA’S Woman & Men’s Hockey Teams Book Berths to Play in Tokyo Olympics

Indian women’s hockey team beat USA 6-5 and man hockey players have defeated Russia to play in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Skipper Rani Rampal’s 48th minute strike sealed Tokyo Olympics berth for the Indian women’s hockey team as they defeated USA 6-5 on aggregate despite losing 1-4 in the second leg of the FIH Qualifier here on Saturday, November 3. The same  day later,  the Indian men’s team won over  Russia 7-1 in the second leg to book their spot at the next year’s Tokyo multi-national games. Indian men have reached the Summer Olympic Games with a crushing 7-1 win over Russia in the second leg at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. They defeated Russia 11-3 over the two legs. Russia got off to a flying start with a goal in the first minute but since then, Lalit Upadhyaya scored one and Akashdeep Singh got a brace to put India in a firm 7-3 lead on aggregate at half time. After the break, India continued their assault on the Russian team and Nilakanta Sharma scored the fourth goal before Rupinder Singh got a brace through two penalty corners to make it even more emphatic for India. Amit Rohidas applied the cherry on the cake in the last second when he converted a penalty corner to give India a huge win en route to 2020 Olympics. Skipper Rani Rampal’s 48th minute strike sealed Tokyo Olympics berth for the Indian women’s hockey team as they pipped USA 6-5 on aggregate despite losing 1-4 in the second leg of the FIH Qualifier here on Saturday. After thrashing USA 5-1 on Friday, it was expected to be a formality for the Indian women but they were given a real scare by the USA women, who raced to a 4-0 lead at the halfway mark. .Indian women have qualified for back-to-back Olympics having sealed it in Rio de Janeiro after a gap of 36 years. The women’s team first participated in the extravaganza in 1980 where the men’s team last won their gold medal. On Saturday however, the Indian women looked a pale shadow of themselves as USA took full advantage of their complacency during the first two quarters. Amanda Magadan (5th, 28th minutes), skipper Kathleen Sharkey (14th) and Alyssa Parker (20th) scored for the visiting side.Pushed to the wall after being forced to recover from a four goal deficit following the 1-5 defeat in the first-leg on Friday, the American girls meant business from the onset as they not only dominated the proceedings in the first quarter, but also pumped in two goals to stun the home team.The Indians played catch-up hockey and found it difficult to counter USA’s persistent attacks from the onset. It was a completely different scenario from Friday’s match as the Indians were found wanting, struggling to get the control of the ball.USA made a lively start to the contest as they earned two penalty corners minutes into the match but failed to execute the chances on both occasions.The Americans’ positive intent soon bore fruit when they took the lead in the fifth minute through a brilliant penalty corner deflection goal by Amanda Magadan.Determined to not give up without a fight, USA continued their onslaught and doubled their lead in the 13th minute when US skipper Sharkey pounced on a defensive error and punishing India’s failure to clear their lines by firing into the bottom right corner.USA continued in the same vein and tripled their lead five minutes into the second quarter  when Alyssa Parker fired high into the net after receiving a pass from Danielle Grega after the India defence was caught off guard yet again.Two minutes later, India secured back-to-back penalty corners but wasted both the opportunities. Moments after India’s Navneet Kaur was shown a yellow card, USA created a chance for Amanda Magadan, who made absolutely no mistake, smashing powerfully into the bottom left corner for her second goal of the game to wipe out the four goal deficit.(Courtesy:All India  Radio  &  Hockey India )

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