India went down fighting in a tight encounter to Argentina in the women’s hockey semi-finals at the Tokyo Olympics on Wednesday. The Rani Rampal-led Indian team which had stunned heavyweights Australia 1-0 in the quarterfinals on Monday took an early lead in their semi-final clash against Argentina after Gurjit Kaur converted a penalty corner in the second minute of the game. However, Argentina came back strongly and skipper Noel Barrionuevo scored in the 18th and 37th minutes to secure a narrow 2-1 win for her side as well as a place in the final against the Netherlands.
Despite Wednesday’s loss, India’s performance earned them praise from various quarters. India had previously qualified for only two editions at the Olympics in women’s hockey — finishing fourth in a six-team competition at the Moscow Games in 1980 and finishing last at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The Indian men’s hockey team had also lost its semifinal match to Belgium on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the plaudits for the team after Wednesday’s semi-final match, saying he is proud of the side.
He wrote on Twitter: “One of the things we will remember #Tokyo2020 for is the stupendous performance by our Hockey teams. Today and through the Games, our Women’s Hockey team played with grit and showcased great skill. Proud of the team. Best of luck for the game ahead and for future endeavours.”
One of the things we will remember #Tokyo2020 for is the stupendous performance by our Hockey teams.
Today and through the Games, our Women’s Hockey team played with grit and showcased great skill. Proud of the team. Best of luck for the game ahead and for future endeavours.
— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) August 4, 2021
Former India cricketer Wasim Jaffer shared a screenshot showing trends related to India’s match against Argentina being ranked higher on Twitter than those relating to India’s opening cricket Test match against England.
“#womenshockey trending over men’s cricket is an achievement in itself. Well played #TeamIndia #Tokyo2020,” he tweeted.
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) August 4, 2021
Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said the team had made India proud with its performances in Tokyo.
“Girls, cheer up and don’t lose your heart. You all have made India proud by reaching the semi-finals at the #Tokyo2020 Olympics in Women’s Hockey! You can still come back with medalSports medal I recall how our girls were geared up for Tokyo Olympics from the very beginning. #Cheer4India,” he tweeted.
Girls, cheer up and don’t lose your heart. You all have made India proud by reaching the semi-finals at the #Tokyo2020 Olympics in Women’s Hockey! You can still come back with medal
I recall how our girls were geared up for Tokyo Olympics from the very beginning. #Cheer4India pic.twitter.com/C1k1xfykOj
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) August 4, 2021
Here are some of the other reactions:
— Yogeshwar Dutt (@DuttYogi) August 4, 2021
This was by far the best day for India at these Olympics, from Neeraj’s throw, to Lovlina’s fight, to Dahiya’s 4th medal and excellent fight by our hockey women. What a day!! Cheers India!!
— Heena SIDHU (@HeenaSidhu10) August 4, 2021
Terrific fight from our girls. Was so pleasing to see the spirit with which they played. And this performance will certainly inspire the next generation of girls to take up hockey. Best wishes for the next match #Hockey #Tokyo2020 @TheHockeyIndia pic.twitter.com/YPA2KhdzGl
– VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) August 4, 2021
Our Indian Women’s Hockey team went down fighting to Argentina and put up a brilliant display of skill and stamina!
You have earned the admiration of the country and reserved your place in history.
Best of luck for your next match #cheer4India #IndiaAtOlympics #Tokyo2020
— Jagat Prakash Nadda (@JPNadda) August 4, 2021
— Aditi Chauhan GK (@aditi03chauhan) August 4, 2021
This was the first time that the Indian women’s hockey team played a semi-final match at the Olympics.
India, who had a late penalty corner saved by the Argentine goalkeeper Belen Succi, will next face Great Britain in the bronze medal match non Friday.
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