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Monday, September 2, 2013

India loses to South Korea in the Asia Cup Hockey Men's Finals

Korea 4;Pakistan 3;  India 2 [2003; 2007] – wondering what ?

The not so good news is that India fought valiantly yet went down to South Korea in the Asia Cup Final for the men’s title.  The ASHF Asia Cup is an international men's and women's field hockey tournament governed by the Asian Hockey Federation (ASHF). It was introduced in 1982 for men's competition and the women's competition was added a year later as non-official championship until the official tournament held in 1985. The 2013 Men's Hockey Asia Cup was the eighth tournament in Hockey Asia Cup for men. It was held from August 24 to September 1, 2013 in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia. The winner of this tournament qualified for the 2014 World Cup and India did not after promising so much… !!

At Malaysia,  India made a spirited fightback in the second half but failed to earn a direct berth in next year’s hockey World Cup as they lost the  summit clash 3-4 to defending champions South Korea.  The Indians are virtually assured of a place in the game’s showpiece event to be held at The Hague, Netherlands, but needed to win the eight-nation tournament to secure a direct entry in the World Cup. Korea’s fourth title win means Malaysia are certain to return to the World Cup after a gap of 12 years. The Indians will now have to wait till the conclusion of the Oceania Cup in November, in which either Australia and New Zealand is expected to win, for the official confirmation of their participation from the FIH.

There was expectation in the air as India has earlier stunned South Korea on their way to the Semis.  It was P R Sreejesh who produced a brilliant display under the bar in the  Pool B match.  India, who need to win the tournament to qualify for next year’s World Cup at The Hague, Netherlands, had thumped minnows Oman 8-0 in their tournament opener. The Indians started brightly and dominated the early matches.  Australia and New Zealand have already made it to the World Cup through the FIH World League.

Though India lost the summit clash, it was a great show by a young and inexperienced Indian team considering the fact that the country finished a lowly seventh in the last edition of the event in 2009.
India pulled one back in the 48th minute from their second penalty corner which was perfectly converted by Rupinder to bring smiles back on the faces of the Indian crowd present at the stadium; but it was short-lived as Korea regained their lead three minutes later. part from the runners-up trophy, India’s P R Sreejesh was adjudged the best goalkeeper of the tournament, while V R Raghunath was selected as the most outstanding player.

Pakistan had earlier beaten Malaysia 3-1 to win the bronze.


With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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