Hockey

Indian teams endure contrasting results at Olympic Test Event

While the men's side suffered a 1-2 loss to New Zealand, the women's team put up a gritty show to share points with Australia .

By Saurabh Shankar ·

Indian hockey teams were at the receiving end of contrasting results on the second day of the ongoing Olympic Test Event in Tokyo on Sunday.

While the men suffered a disappointing 1-2 loss to New Zealand at the Oi Hockey Stadium, the women's team had enough to cheer about after their 2-2 draw against World number 2, Australia.

Dual comeback

Playing in the earlier game on Sunday (18th August), the Indian women’s team had to rally twice to save a point against the dominant Aussies.

It was the Hockeyroos who took the lead in the 14th minute through a penalty stroke after the referee spotted an infringement inside the striking circle.

Though the Indians struggled to find their attacking game and were largely restricted to defending in numbers, they drew level early in the third quarter as Vandana Katariya finished off a superb team-move to draw parity in the 36th minute.

But Australia didn’t take long to regain their lead, this time Grace Stewart making the most of her chance with some fantastic stick work and swift passing to find the back of the net 43rd minute.

That goal didn’t shake the Indians much as they continued their hunt for another equaliser. But it wasn’t until the penultimate minute that Rani Rampal and Co were rewarded for their persistence. Gifted a short corner by some silly defence work by the Aussies, India’s Gurjit Kaur ensured that she made the Commonwealth Games silver medallists pay with a fine goal.

Late collapse

While the Indian women showed grit and determination to dig deep and draw level against Australia, the men’s team just couldn’t find an answer to tackle their old foe — late goals.

Harmanpreet Singh and Co started off brightly against New Zealand, and got the lead through a penalty corner conversion by the skipper as early as the second minute.

But instead of building on the start, the Indians fell prey to their defensive tactics and wasteful attacking front to lose the tie to the Blacksticks.

India dominating 

The drama unfolded in the final quarter as the Kiwis switched gears and put the Indian backline under immense pressure. The tactic paid off as they equalised in the 47th minute through Jacob Smith.

Then things got better for Darren Smith’s side as Sam Lane scored the winner in the last minute of the game to crush Indian hearts and ensure New Zealand continued their winning streak in the Olympic Test event, part of the Ready Steady Tokyo series in preparation for the 2020 Olympic Games.

Following the loss, India’s men’s team will now look to bounce back when they face hosts Japan in their next game on Tuesday while the women’s side will take on China on the same day.