Hockey (women): India

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This is a collection of articles archived for the excellence of their content.


Junior Women’s World Cup


2013: First-Ever World Cup Medal For India In Women’s Hockey


The Times of India

New Delhi: It was celebration time for country’s hockey lovers as India held their nerves to beat a fancied England 3-2 on penalties to claim the bronze medal in the Junior Women’s World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany on Sunday.

Defending champions the Netherlands, who India lost to in the semifinals, lifted the trophy by beating Argentina 4-2 on penalties.

The Indian girls showed maturity beyond their age in the thrilling match to clinch the bronze, thus becoming the first women’s hockey team from India to win a medal in a World Cup. India’s gamble to field goalkeeper Bigan Soy for the first time in the tournament during the penalties paid off as she came up with several saves to help the team finish on the podium.

India’s coach Neil Hawgood said after the match. “Our goalkeeper Bigan Soy, who had not played even a minute in the whole tournament, did a great job. It was (always) clear, (that) when it comes down to shootouts, she will be in the goal,” he was quoted as saying.

Rani, who was later named “Player of the Tournament”, opened the account for India in the 13th minute of the match before England equalized in the 55th through Anna Toman as both team teams finished the regulation time tied 1-1. The penalty shootout saw more misses than hits as both the sides failed to score from four strokes each. India scored from their first attempt while England converted their last one. Rani scored from India’s first stroke after Toman missed England’s first. No goals were scored from the next six as England went to their final shot trailing 0-1 in the shootout. After Emily Defroand found the target to level the score, India needed to score their final hit to win.

But Poonam Rani failed to score. In the sudden death, Rani and Defroand scored for their teams respectively before Poonam Rani missed to give England a chance to wrap up the match. But Shona McCallin failed to take advantage. Navneet Kaur, who had earlier missed a penalty, rose to the occasion by scoring in her attempt while Toman could not convert to hand the Indian girls a welldeserved win.

This was the best finish by the team in the event, having finished outside topeight in their earlier three attempts.

HI announces cash reward

Hockey India (HI) on Sunday announced that each member of team will be rewarded with a cash prize of Rs one lakh, according to agencies. Chief coach Hawgood will also receive a cash reward of Rs one lakh.


2015: earn Olympic berth after 36 years

The Times of India, Aug 30 2015

Women make Olympic cut after 36 years   Having finished fifth at the World Hockey League semi-finals in Antwerp (Belgium) in early July 2015 , only a few mega upsets could have prevented India's women's hockey team from making the cut for the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Therefore, it was not surprising when the International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced in late August 2015 that Rani Rampal & Co. had booked their ticket for the mega competition after a gap of 36 years, once England made it to the final of the ongoing EuroHockey Championships in London after beating Spain. One berth was freed up because England, and the other finalist Netherlands -who beat Germany in the other last-four clash -have already qualified for the Games.


Asian Champions

The Times of India, Nov 5, 2016

The Indian women's hockey team ended the disappointment of finishing 12th at the Olympic Games, by lifting their maiden Asian Champions Trophy by beating China 2-1 in November. It took social media seconds to go berserk and the women's team was lauded for its feat from all corners. Their victory came less than a week after Indian men beat Pakistan for the Asian Champions Trophy title. Befittingly, Hockey India announced a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh for each player and chief coach Neil Hawgood.

Hockey: India beat China 2-1 to win Women's Asian Champions Trophy


Deepika scored the winner in the dying minutes to give India 2-1 victory.

Deep Grace Ekka put India in the lead via a penalty corner in the 13th minute.

Zhong Mengling scored a fine field goal in the 44th minute to make it 1-1.

The Indian women's hockey team lifted its maiden Asian Champions Trophy after Deepika Thakur struck in the final minute to give her team a thrilling 2-1 win over China in the final.

Earlier, Deep Grace Ekka converted a penalty corner to take India into the lead in the 13th minute before China equalised in the 44th minute through a field goal from Zhong Mengling.

The welcome result for the Indian women's team comes days after men beat Pakistan to reclaim the Asian Champions Trophy in Kuantan, Malaysia. India's best finish in the Women's Asian Champions Trophy came in the last edition in 2013 when it finished runner-up to Japan. It had finished third in the inaugural edition in 2010.

Having learnt from their group stage encounter, India refused to let China take early control of the ball, closing them down high up the pitch, often intercepting their passes and constantly putting pressure by hunting in packs. When in possession, the Indian eves held their nerve and passed the ball around neatly to penetrate China's circle. This slightly different approach to their game compared to Friday helped them earn India's first PC of the game in the 13th minute.

An innovative set-piece saw Deep perfectly send the ball past the Chinese keeper for the early lead. Going into the second quarter, India kept up the pressure by playing disciplined hockey, keeping their calm only to deny the Chinese a chance to equalise. However, the third quarter saw China's Mengling Zhong penetrate the Indian circle to score a quick field goal. But the Indian eves were unrelenting and were playing the kind of hockey that had China on the backfoot.

Though fortunes changed hands by the minute, neither team dropped the intensity going into the fourth quarter. For India, it was Rani who was acting like a lynchpin, attempting to penetrate the Chinese D to earn a PC and she found a chance with just minutes left before the final hooter went off. It was a do-or-die situation for India and it was their best chance to score. Deepika, the highest goal scorer of the tournament took the onus on to herself to convert a sensational goal with just 30 seconds to go for the final hooter, sending the Indian supports into bursts of cheers.

For the team's triumph, Hockey India on Saturday also announced a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh each for the players and chief coach Neil Hawgood. Besides this, the federation also announced Rs 1 lakh for the other support staff of the team. A cash award for Rs 1 lakh was announced for Deepika, the highest scorer of the tournament.

Under-18 Asia Cup: bronze

Indian girls clinch bronze Dec 23 2016 : The Times of India

 Sangita Kumari scored twice as India blanked Korea 3-0 to clinch a bronze medal in the 4th Women's Under-18 Asia Cup hockey tournament in Dec 2016 .

Win Asia Cup

Indian women win Asia Cup, 2017, some highlights
From: The Times of India, November 6, 2017

See graphic:

Indian women win Asia Cup, 2017, some highlights


2019: In a first, psychologist to tour with team

Manuja Veerappa, January 30, 2019: The Times of India

On an average, every member of India’s women’s hockey team, including the reserves, spends 300 days away from home. These players battle home sickness, loneliness and mental fatigue. This in turn affects performances.

With the senior team eyeing Olympic qualification this year, the team management has, for the first time, roped in a psychologist who will travel with the team on tours. The management felt it was essential for a full-time psychologist to travel with the team.

Prior to the Rani Rampal-led team’s departure for the ongoing tour of Spain, Priyanka, a psychologist attached to the Sports Authority of India, was sanctioned to travel with the team.

Speaking about the importance of a psychologist with the team, Sjoerd Marjine, the chief coach, explained, “She has been working with the team for a while now but that’s during the camps. We realized that was a shortcoming because the psychologist doesn’t really see the players in match situation. So, we felt it was very important for her to see the players in match situations to study how they react to situations on and off the field. Also, it is important for her to analyze how the group dynamics is when we play consecutive matches and how the players react to victory and defeat.”

The Dutchman also felt that the inclusion of a sports psychologist will enhance his communication with the players and within the team.

“We also want to improve communication within the team and that of the players with me. We want to see the girls play to their potential in big matches and for that we need to address the mental aspect as well. There are times the girls have something on their minds, but given the culture they come from they don’t easily open up to a coach. But with Priyanka in the mix now, I believe we can bridge the gap faster now,” explained Marjine.

Skipper Rani also feels that working with Priyanka and having her on tour is a huge boost for the team. “She focuses on our strengths, makes us do different kinds of fun team activities which helps in bonding.”

India clinches Korea series

May 22, 2019: The Times of India

Jincheon (Korea):

The Indian women’s hockey team came from a goal down to eke out a close 2-1 win over South Korea in the second game and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-march series, here Wednesday. The Indians had earlier defeated Korea by identical margin in the opening game of the series.

India will take on Korea in the inconsequential last match on Friday. On Wednesday, skipper Rani Rampal (37th minute) and Navjot Kaur (50th) scored for India after Lee Seungju gave South Korea the lead in the 19th minute through a field strike. The match started on an aggressive note with both teams trading penalty corners in the first quarter but respective goalkeepers made fine saves to keep a clean slate.

India wins FIH Series

Indian women bag title, June 24, 2019: The Times of India

Beat Japan 3-1 In Thrilling Contest

Drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur, who has been on a song, struck twice after skipper Rani Rampal provided the lead as India outplayed Japan 3-1 to clinch the FIH Women’s Series Finals here on Sunday. Leading from the front, captain Rani found the net as early as third minute but Japan’s Kanon Mori equalised in the 11th minute.

Gurjit scored in the 45th and 60th minutes to lead India to an emphatic victory. The world number nine Indian team had already qualified for the FIH Olympic Qualifiers 2019 on Saturday after securing a place in the Final of the competition.

Rani was adjudged the best player of the tournament while Gurjit emerged the top-scorer. The Indian skipper struck the ball sweetly along the ground, beating the Japanese goalkeeper Akio Tanaka on her right side to give India a 1-0 advantage.

India’s dominance saw them win their second penalty corner in the ninth minute, but the team gave a foul away in the execution. Japan were unable to create opportunities for themselves as they could only manage two circle entries in the entire first 15 minutes.

But, when they did enter the circle on the second occasion, the Japanese forward-line combined to score an equalizer from their very first shot at goal.

It was Sakurako Omoto who picked up the ball at the 25-yard line, and played in a pass on the right flank to Yuri Nagai on the baseline, who then played a pass across goal which was successfully deflected by Kanon Mori onto the Indian Goalkeeper Savita, who could not react in time and conceded the goal.

The second quarter also saw India maintain possession which saw forward Vandana Katariya miss a good opportunity in the 18th minute as she picked up a loose clearance from just outside the striking circle, and ran into it to take a strike, but her shot went just wide of the post across goal.

Japan, on the other hand, also started to get into their rhythm, and tried to create chances by using the flanks, but India’s defensive cohesion made sure that they did not concede again. World number nine India controlled possession well as they made five circle entries compared to Japan’s zero.

The likes of Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam and Lilima Minz stepped up to help break Japanese attacks, and rotated the ball comfortably to create opportunities for India. However, a better performance by the Japanese defense in the final few minutes of the second quarter meant that both the teams went into the half-time break level at 1-1.

India stepped up their attacking flair again in the opening minutes of the third quarter winning two penalty corners but could not convert them into a second goal. Both the teams tried to look to take the important lead, with Japan making two circle entries and getting two shots away, while India made 8 entries and took 5 shots. However, the last of those 5 shots was the one which gave India the lead as constant pressure on the Japanese in the latter stages of the third quarter saw India win another penalty corner through captain Rani. PTI

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