Hockey

Indian hockey teams reach Olympic Test Event finals

Men charge through with 6-3 win over Japan, as women qualify thanks to goalless draw with China

By Naveen Peter ·

Both Indian hockey teams secured the results they needed on Tuesday to reach the finals of the Olympic Test Event in Tokyo.

The men's side, captained by Harmanpreet Singh, bounced back from Monday's defeat the New Zealand to thrash Japan 6-3 at the Oi Hockey Stadium.

Mandeep Singh scored a hat-trick to set up a rematch with the Black Sticks on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Rani Rampal and the women drew 0-0 with China to reach Wednesday's final against Japan.

Young brigade put Japan to the sword

Only a win would do for the men and Nilakanta Sharma got them off to the perfect start with a field gold in the third minute.

Moments later, India won a penalty corner and Nilam Sanjeep Xess converted with Harmanpreet off the field.

The visitors were reaping the benefits of their attacking intent and Mandeep then found the net with an excellent strike to make it 3-0 inside the first 10 minutes.

India's defence was called into action as Japan pressed at the end of the first quarter, and it was breached 10 minutes into the second quarter by Kentaro Fukuda.

But just before half-time, Mandeep scored twice in quick succession to complete his hat-trick and all but secure victory.

Kenta Tanaka pulled one back in the third quarter but Gurjant Singh quickly responded before Kazuma Murata's late consolation left India with a 6-3 victory.

Now the focus is on New Zealand who made it three wins out of three with a 3-1 triumph over Malaysia in their final group game.

Women on top after dour draw

While the men enjoyed themselves, the Indian women’s team had to come through a stiff challenge in their goalless draw against China.

After beating Japan in their opener and an impressive 2-2 draw with heavyweights Australia, Rani Rampal and her team-mates were unable to break the deadlock against a determined Chinese defence.

They started with attacking intent and won a penalty corner inside the first 10 minutes.

But their penalty corner specialist Gurjit Kaur could not find the back of the net and add to her three goals in the tournament so far.

Missed opportunities and some careless passes haunted the Indians and they were almost punished as China came out of their shell in the latter stages.

But the Indian defence and Savita in the goal were on top of their game to thwart the opposition and guarantee India top spot in the group and a place in Wednesday's final against Japan who drew 2-2 with Australia.