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India win AAG women's hockey

October 30, 2003 22:07 IST

Riding on goalkeeper Helen Innocent's brilliance, India got the better off South Africa 5-4 via the tie-breaker to win the women's hockey gold at the Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad on Thursday.

After 15 minutes' extra-time failed to produce a result after both the teams were locked 1-1 in regulation time, Helen came up with two fine saves before Sanggai Chanu converted the last stroke, putting it to the left of the South African custodian, to script a memorable triumph for India.

After a goalless first-half, Jennifer Claire Wilson put South Africa ahead in the 40th minute from a penalty-corner, but India found the equaliser in the 52nd minute though Suman Bala, who also converted a penalty-corner.

This was the Indian women's first triumph since winning the Commonwealth Games gold in Manchester last year. But this triumph is more significant since the team played the tournament without five of its senior players.

Today's win also rekindled memories of India's famous come-from-behind victory over South Africa in the quarter-finals at Manchester -- a victory which had set the stage for India to march ahead and win the tournament.

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