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Sunday, August 1, 2021

Vandana Kataria's hat-trick gives India hopes of qualifying !!

The other day could spot Sai Kishore sitting next to Rahul Dravid – yes, he was part of the five reserve bowlers who were taken to Srilanka - Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, R Sai Kishore and Simarjeet Singh; and as the team strength got pruned, Sandeep Warrier made his debut ! .. ..

But how well do we know players like : Rajani Etimarpu; Savita Punia; Bichu Dev Kharibum; Gurjit Kaur; Deep Grace Ekka; Rashmita Minz; Manpreet Kaur;  Reena Khokhar; Salima Tete; Nisha; Sushila Chanu Pukhrambhan; Lilima Minz; Neha; Namita Toppo;  Monika; Nikki Pradhan; Vandana Katariya; Rani Rampal (Captain); Navneet Kaur; Navjot Kaur; Jyoti; Udita; Rajwinder Kaur; Lalremsiami; Sharmila Devi  ~ members of the Indian women Hockey team presently in Tokyo Olympics

Vandana Katariya scored three of India's four goals against South Africa in the final pool A hockey game became the first Indian woman to register a hat-trick at the Olympics here at Oi Hockey Stadium -- South Pitch today. 

Field hockey was introduced at the Olympic Games as a men's competition at the 1908 Games in London, with six teams, including four from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The women's field hockey tournament at the 2020 Summer Olympics will be the eleventh edition of the field hockey event for women at the Summer Olympic Games.  India is in Pool A alongside : Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and South Africa

Field hockey was removed from the Summer Olympic Games at the 1924 Paris Games because of the lack of an international sporting structure. The International Hockey Federation (FIH, Fédération Internationale de Hockey) was founded in Paris that year as a response to field hockey's omission. Men's field hockey became a permanent feature at the next Olympic Games, the 1928 Games in Amsterdam. For a long time, India dominated the Olympics, winning the men's gold medal in seven out of eight Olympics from 1928 to 1964. Later, Pakistan was also dominant, winning three gold and three silver medals between 1956 and 1984. India lost their dominance after the 1980s and Pakistan after the 1990s. India won their last gold medal in 1980 and Pakistan in 1984 Games. Spain has appeared in the most Olympic men's competitions without winning the men's gold medal, having won silver three times in 1980, 1996, 2008 and bronze once in 1960.  

The first women's Olympic field hockey competition was introduced by the IOC at the 1980 Summer Olympics. Olympic field hockey games were first played on artificial turf at the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games. Until the 1988 Olympics the tournament was invitational but FIH introduced a qualification system since the 1992 games. India is the leading team in overall medal tally with 11 medals (8 gold, 1 silver and 2 bronze). India also lead in most number of gold medals. 

Today Vandana Kataria made the Nation proud.  The 29-year-old forward's three goals made sure that the women's hockey team's hopes to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics remain intact as it will now depend on the outcome of the Ireland and Great Britain game. In their five Group Stage matches, India won two and lost three. Katariya scored her first two goals in the starting two-quarters of the match and completed the hattrick by scoring the winner in fourth. Neha Goyal was the other scorer for India as the team edged South Africa 4-3 in a thriller. Vandana (4th, 17th, 49th minutes) achieved a rare feat by becoming the first Indian woman hockey player to score a hat-trick in the history of the Olympics.

South Africa’s goals came from the sticks of Tarryn Glasby (15th), skipper Erin Hunter (30th) and Marizen Marais (39th). With two wins from their final two pool matches, India have finished the group stages with six points from five games. By virtue of this win, India have jumped to the fourth position in Pool A, but Ireland still have a chance to leapfrog the Indians. India’s fate now depends on the outcome of the last Pool A match between Great Britain and Ireland.  Ireland loss or a draw will be enough for India to seal their place in the quarterfinals.

Before concluding there is a surprise winner in the pack – Zimbabwe !! .. .. in the 1980 Olympics at Moscow,  Zimbabwe won the gold medal finishing top of the pool at the conclusion of the pool stage. Czechoslovakia and the Soviet Union won the silver and bronze respectively, finishing in second and third place in the pool. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
31st July 2021. 

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