India men’s hockey team beat four-time champions Germany 5-4 on Thursday to win the bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics. With the win, the country has ended its 41-year wait for its next Olympics medal in hockey since they won the gold medal in the 1980 Olympics in Moscow.
Germany took an early lead with Timur Oruz scoring within two minutes of the match and gave the Indian defense a tough battle in the first quarter. However, towards the second quarter, it could not find a way to extend its lead.
Goals from Harmanpreet Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Hardik Singh, in addition to a brace from Simranjeet Singh saw India through. It was a topsy-turvy game in which India went 0-1 and then went 3-1 down and then came back to 3-3, all in the second quarter. Simranjeet scored two field goals while Harmanpreet and Hardik scored from penalty corners. Rupinder Pal converted a penalty stroke which gave India the lead and completed their comeback after which Simranjeet scored their fifth.
In their journey at Tokyo Olympics, India men’s hockey team first defeated New Zealand 3-2 in their opening group game, and then picked up wins over Germany (2-0), Spain (3-1), Argentina (3-1), and Japan (5-3) in the group matches. Except for the 7-1 defeat against Australia, and the 5-2 loss in the semifinal to World Champions Belgium, the Indian team won all their games in Tokyo.
So far, this is India’s fourth bronze medal at the Olympics. They last won a bronze in the 1972 Munich Olympics. With eight gold medals, India is the most successful team at the Olympics in men’s hockey.
Meanwhile, India’s weightlifter Mirabai Chanu won silver in the 48kg category, boxer Lovlina Borgohain won the bronze medal in the women’s welterweight category and shuttler PV Sindhu won a bronze medal in the women’s singles competition. Wrestler Ravi Kumar Dahiya has also assured a medal and will compete in the gold medal bout on Thursday afternoon.