The Indian women hockey team’s dream of reclaiming the gold at the 18th Asian games at Jakarta after 36 years remained unfulfilled as it lost 1-2 to Japan to settle for the silver medal. It was yet another heartbreak for Indian hockey, a day after the fancied men’s team lost to Malaysia via penalty shoot-out in the semifinals. Coming into the match, the Indians were favorites to the title as they have ranked five places above Japan at ninth in the world rankings. But the Japanese matched India stick for stick and took the lead in the 11th minute when Minami Shimizu converted their first penalty corner.
Valiant India went down fighting and won the silver medal as they lost 1-2 to Japan in the women’s hockey semi-final of the 2018 Asian Games. Kawamura Motomi scored the decisive and eventual winning goal in the 43rd minute as Japan clinched the gold medal. India kept pushing for an equalizer in the fourth quarter and even came close in the closing stages but failed to score.
India, however, did not give up and pressed hard for the equalizer which came in the 25th minute when Neha Goyal deflected in a Navneet Kaur reverse hit pass, as both the teams went into the breather locked at 1-1. The Japanese, however, came out rejuvenated after the change of ends and restored their lead through another penalty corner conversion, by skipper Motomi Kawamura in the 44th minute. In the final quarter, the Indians pressed hard in search of the equalizer but Japan defended in numbers to win the match and claim the gold medal.
Japan kept the pressure on India and reaped the benefits after a deflected and well-taken penalty corner strike gave the former the lead. The Japanese side played an attacking game, especially in the first quarter. The second quarter saw India up their ante and their offensive play orchestrated by Navneet in the 25th minute helped Neha equalize for India. A confident India women’s hockey team will be vying to win the gold medal after a long wait of 36 years. India won the gold medal in 1982, the year women’s hockey was first included in the Asian Games program. They reached the final for the second time in 1998 when they lost 1-2 to South Korea. They bagged bronze medals in 2006 and 2014.
Congratulations to Women’s hockey team for winning the medal.
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