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'Proud of This Team': PM Modi Praises Women Hockey Team's Courage Despite Defeat at Tokyo Olympics

FILE PHOTO: India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at the houses of parliament for the first day of the budget session, in New Delhi on 29 January 2021.
ADNAN ABIDI

The Indian Women's Field Hockey Team fell short of achieving their maiden Olympic medal after suffering a heartbreaking 3-4 loss to former champions Great Britain in a nerve-racking match on Friday. Although the defeat left Rani Rampal and her teammates in tears, their unflinching spirit and superlative performance was lauded by their opponents.

Despite the Indian Women Hockey Team's dream to clinch an Olympic medal having been shattered by Great Britain at Tokyo's Oi Hockey Stadium on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation to heap praise on the team's awe-inspiring attempt against the Rio Olympic champs.

He was joined by legendary cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, and Sports Minister Anurag Thakur praised the team's stellar effort, saying that they have made the nation proud.

Several others, including Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, claimed they were left heartbroken by the defeat, but added that they were extremely happy with the way the team performed at the quadrennial sports mega-event in Japan's capital.

Playing in their first medal match at the Olympics, the Indian women waged a valiant battle, but couldn't accomplish their goal of beating Great Britain's players who managed to outclass them in the final 15 minutes.

The Brits made a flying start in the contest, scoring the first goal in the second quarter. But the Indians began to rise to the occasion as in-form Gurjit Kaur and Vandana Katariya delivered three strikes in quick succession to give them the lead in the third quarter.

With a score of 3-2 in India's favour, Rampal and her teammates looked set to make history.

But there was a twist as India was left with only 10 players after Udita was handed a yellow card by the referee.

The referee's decision was the second blow to India after Britain had equalised at 3-3 minutes before the fourth quarter.

The referee's decision cost India the match as it allowed their opponents to regroup and plan a new strategy.

As the British players launched an all-out attack against India, their victory was sealed by Grace Balsdon, who delivered the winning goal in the final quarter.

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