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Indian eves clinch hockey bronze
December 13, 2006 20:49 IST
Indian women hockey players made some amends for the dismal show of their male counterparts by bagging the bronze medal in the Asian Games women's hockey event by beating South Korea 1-0 in the third place play-off in Doha on Wednesday.
Mamta Kharb produced the match winner in the 16th minute of the contest to seal the fate of the Koreans in a fast-paced encounter at the Al-Rayyan stadium.
The Indians, who had lost to Korea in their last league match, did well to score an early goal and latch on to the slender lead till the hooter to ensure that they did not return home empty-handed.
The only goal of the contest came when Mamta converted a penalty corner, much to the delight of the Indian contingent which desperately needed a win to boost their overall medal haul from the Games.
The Indians gave a fine exhibition of defensive play and superb counter-attacks and kept the strong Korean forward line at bay right through the match.
The bronze medal victory also ensured that India qualified for the Beijing Olympics.
Indian captain Jyoti Sunita Kullu said that the players were determined to put it across Korea.
"We wanted to go all out in this match and we had a penalty corner success. For this match, our team had sworn to get the bronze becuase then we would qualify for the finals. It is a great thing for women's hockey in India," Kullu said.
"We wanted to put them under pressure but they went all out on us. This put us under some kind of pressure, but we minimised our mistakes and defended well to keep them at bay," she said.
Asunta Lakra, who played a key role in the Indian defence, said the players were highly motivated for the match.
"When we were playing this game, we were confident. We were motivated and we were bent on beating them. Our coach has helped us a lot and now we will be preparing for the Olympics," she said.
Doha Asian Games 2006: The Complete Coverage