The Indian women’s hockey team missed might have out on a medal at the recently concluded Tokyo Olympics but they definitely won millions of hearts and made the nation – long-starved of Olympic glory in hockey — dream again.
After losing its first three pool games, the Rani Rampal-led team bounced back to win the next three matches — including the quarterfinal against the world number two Australia — to reach the semifinals.
The team then pushed hard against Argentina in the semis but missed out on a spot in the final after narrowly losing 1-2. The similar gritty performance was also seen in the bronze medal match and after two quarters they were leading 3-2 but then Great Britain scored twice to clinch the medal.
In an EXCLUSIVE interview with Editor-in-chief of Zee News, Sudhir Chaudhary, the players of the Indian women’s hockey team opened up on their thrilling journey in Tokyo Olympics and also revealed their tales of sweat, tears, and humble beginnings.
Question: Rani, what made you guys cry so much after losing the bronze medal match?
Answer: It was an emotional moment for us, we were very close to the medal. It hurts a lot to return without a medal despite being so close. The life of an athlete is not that easy. We have made a lot of sacrifices in the time of COVID. I was away from family for a long period of time. I felt very happy for all the love I got from the nation. Women’s hockey team never received so much of love before.
Question: What was your thought process and how you were feeling ahead of the bronze medal match?
Answer: We were full of confidence before the match. We played well in the semi-final with Argentina. We had decided not to let go the medal. Our team gave it all on the field and fought till the very end, but unfortunately, it wasn’t our day.
Question: Savita, how did you stop so many goals in the Tokyo Olympics?
Answer: It has been a long journey. We were not satisfied with our performance in the last Olympics. Our strategy was to go match by match. We decided, we have to finish well. Initially, we lost a couple of games but later we made a comeback and that was the turning point.