Hangzhou, TNI Bureau: India has once again demonstrated its supremacy in men’s hockey by clinching the gold medal at the Asian Games in Hangzhou. The victory not only solidifies their position as one of the top teams in the world but also secures their spot in the upcoming Paris Olympics, sparing them from the longer qualification route.
In a thrilling final showdown, Harmanpreet Singh’s men outclassed the defending champions, Japan, with a commanding 5-1 win. This achievement marks India’s fourth gold medal in men’s hockey at the Asian Games, with previous triumphs in 1966, 1998, and 2014. In the Jakarta Asian Games four years ago, India secured a bronze medal.
India’s success at the Asian Games has catapulted them to the joint second-most successful men’s hockey team in the tournament’s history, tying with South Korea’s tally of four gold medals. Pakistan remains the most successful team with nine gold medals.
The journey to the gold medal was nothing short of remarkable. India’s campaign began with an absolute demolition of Uzbekistan, defeating them 16-0. They continued their dominance with victories over Singapore (16-1), Japan (4-2), Pakistan (10-2), and Bangladesh (12-0) in the group stage, finishing at the top of Pool A.
In the semi-finals, India faced a formidable challenge from South Korea, prevailing with a hard-fought 5-3 victory. The confidence and composure displayed by the Indian team were undeniable, setting the stage for an epic final against Japan.
The final clash against Japan proved to be a test of patience, as Japan adopted a defensive strategy early on. Surjeet’s goal in the 15th minute was initially denied due to a penalty corner decision, but India persisted. Manpreet Singh’s field goal gave them a 1-0 lead at halftime.
Japan’s defensive discipline couldn’t hold out in the third quarter, as India capitalized on three consecutive penalty corners, with Manpreet Singh’s thunderous strike extending their lead to 2-0.
Meanwhile, Odisha boy Amit Rohidas also shined at the tournament adding to Japan’s woes with a penalty corner goal, and Abhishek further widened the gap to 4-0.
Japan managed to pull one back with Seren Tanaka’s goal, but it was Harmanpreet Singh who had the final say, sealing India’s victory with another sensational penalty corner strike, ending the match at 5-1.
The Asian Games 2023 showcased India as a dominant force in men’s hockey. Captain Harmanpreet Singh led the team with unwavering determination, securing a perfect record in the pool stage and a memorable win in the semi-finals.
Top scorers Mandeep Singh and Harmanpreet Singh played pivotal roles throughout the tournament, with Mandeep netting 12 goals and Harmanpreet contributing 11. Their remarkable performances, including a hat-trick each against Bangladesh in a 12-0 victory, underscored their importance to the team’s success.
As India basks in the glory of this remarkable victory, they carry the hopes and aspirations of a nation into the future. Their journey in the Asian Games 2023 was marked by skill, teamwork, and sheer determination, proving once again that Indian hockey holds a prominent place on the global stage.
India scored 68 goals in the tournament and conceded 9.