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India Win Olympics Hockey Medal After 41 Years - Standout Performers of Campaign

The Indian men's hockey team won their first medal since 1980 at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Updated
Hockey
4 min read
India Win Olympics Hockey Medal After 41 Years - Standout Performers of Campaign
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Much was expected from the Indian men’s hockey team at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the Manpreet Singh led side delivered with a Bronze medal, ending a 41-year long wait to get on the podium at the biggest festival of sports.

India, who have a rich history of medals in the Olympics, now have 12, the highest for any country at the Games.

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The Indian team completed their historic campaign with a 5-4 win against Germany in a thrilling contest at the Oi Stadium in Tokyo. Through the course of the competition, they lost only to Australia and Belgium, both of whom will clash for the Gold medal on 5 August.

As the celebrations continue for the Indian men’s team, who say this is just the beginning of the journey, we take a look back at the biggest stars on the team. Mind you, no matter what, each of the players involved in this monumental effort will go down as legends and be part of the sporting folklore of India.

PR Sreejesh

The senior most player in the squad, Sreejesh stood tall in the face of the toughest attacks and marshalled the defence brilliantly from under the sticks. And he rightfully sat atop the goal post after the Bronze medal playoff in celebration.

The goalkeeper, who plays the role of an older brother, pulled off some jaw dropping saves, especially a double save against Great Britain in the quarters, which has helped keep things solid in the back, allowing the attackers to give it their all in the front third.

Even though the 7-1 thrashing at the hands of Australia left Sreejesh extremely disappointed, he bounced back after that, standing tall against rasping drives from PCs and cutting out angles from slick moves and giving India an excellent cushion to fall back on.

Just like in the Q/F, India’s Bronze medal match win is as much down to the veteran keeper as the attackers who scored 5 goals. And when it wasn’t him pulling off saves, the team could always hear him calling out instructions from his vantage point.

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Manpreet Singh

Captain fantastic – Manpreet led from the from the front and was one of the most important figures in the heart of midfield. The captain may not have scored but was instrumental in breaking up attacks, even taking a green card for the team after successfully disrupting the opposition momentum.

When Manpreet wasn’t defending he was helping pull the strings and build attacks as India overcame hurdle after hurdle.

Manpreet has not only been important for the team at the Olympics but also one of the cornerstones around which the Indian resurgence began. Safe to say he is the glue that holds the team together in the toughest of times.

Harmanpreet Singh

Among the things that concerned fans and experts was India’s inexperienced and untested forward line, but all that changed as Harmanpreet made scoring goals look easy. The defender, who is also the vice-captain, is one of the most dangerous drag-flickers in the game currently.

The 25-year-old not only did his defensive duties well on more occasions than not he contributed heavily to the goals scored tally, scoring 6 of them, the highest in the campaign in the squad.

The young man who made his in 2015 and has played over 100 games for the country yet again proved why he is so highly rated, scoring crucial goals and helping stop attacks.

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Rupinder Pal Singh

Another of India’s extremely important and senior players, Rupinder Pal Singh, has time and again come up trumps for the national team; and 2020 Tokyo Olympics was no different.

A veteran of more than 200 games, his powerful drag-flicks have caused plenty of heartbreak for opposition teams and their fans, and the trend was no different when it came to the biggest games of his life.

Dropped in 2018, Rupinder, since has roared back to form and, as the cliché goes, never really looked back.

Four goals at important junctures along with the ability to step in and break up attacks, and then start off one for his side with unerring regularity were key to India’s fortunes in Tokyo.

Simranjeet Singh

Initially not a part of the squad, Simranjeet was added to the list when the FIH allowed extra additions in the eleventh hour. And boy did he grab his chance with hands!

The 24-year-old forward, who had played less than 50 games before the Olympics, was one of the standout performers in attack, a department that was seen as a source of concern due to lack of experience.

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He kick started India’s scoring run after the defeat to Australia when he found the net against Spain and again scored two important goals as India fought back against Germany in their final game.

Simranjeet’s second goal in fact put the game beyond Germany in the Bronze medal match on Thursday.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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