Indian Women’s Hockey Squad kicked-off their grand campaign of Tokyo Olympics Test Event on a winning note as they defeated hosting team Japan with a close margin of 2-1 at Oi Hockey Stadium on Saturday. The penalty corner specialist Gurjit Kaur was the main architect of India’s emphatic win against Japan as she singlehandedly lifted her team in the opener of Test Event.
India got off an excellent start against the Japanese team as they earned many opportunities to strike a goal within nine minutes of the beginning. Eventually, Indian women’s hustle found a successive way as the star drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur opened an account for her team at ninth minute with a penalty corner. This gave an early 1-0 lead to India against Japan. Though India’s happiness was short-lived as the brilliant player of hosting team, Aki Mitsuhashi scored a quick field goal against blues in order to equalize the game at 16th minute. With this, both the teams went on for a half-time break with a 1-1 scorecard.
The third quarter of the game began with the strong dominance of Indian women’s hockey team over the hosts and within few minutes India scored its second goal again through the help of Gurjit Kaur’s magic. In the 35th minute of the encounter, one more penalty corner came from Gurjit’s hockey which directly gave India 2-1 lead against Japan. This mounted immense pressure on Japanese squad in the nail-biting battle. As a result, Japan tried to score one more equalizer against India when only a few minutes were left for the final whistle. But all their efforts went in vain as India finally had the last laugh with a victorious celebration in the first game of Olympics Test Event.
Indian women will next take on Australian squad on Sunday at the same stadium. It is not going to be so easy for Rani Rampal and team to defeat Aussies in the next encounter as they have registered only one victory against Australian squad in their past 10 meetings. It will be interesting to see whether Aussies will keep their dominance alive against team India or the Indian women’s hockey squad will maintain its winning momentum at the event.