‘Now we are giving them a reason to pick up hockey, play the game and make the country more proud than this’
India's hockey star and now an Olympic medal winner goalkeeper PR Sreejesh was elated after the team won the bronze medal after beating Germany at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.
It took 41 years, but the dream of every Indian was finally realised after Manpreet & Co defeated Germany 5-4 to win the bronze medal at the Oi Hockey Stadium -- North Pitch. The Men in Blue showed absolute resilience and strength to register a remarkable comeback win against a strong German team.
Indian men's hockey team's record in Olympics:
Experienced Sreejesh once again came to the rescue for the team after fittingly saving Germany's 13th penalty corner of the match with 6.08 seconds left of clock, to ensure a historic bronze for the team.
"It's a rebirth. That's it. It's been 41 years. In 1980 we won the last medal and after that, nothing. Today when we won it, this gives a boost and gives energy to the youngsters to pick up hockey, play this game," Sreejesh told Olympics.com after the win.
"This is a beautiful game. Now we are giving them a reason to pick up hockey, play the game and make the country more proud than this," the three-time Olympian pointed.
The goalie dedicated the medal to his father, with whom he had a celebratory video call on the pitch.
"He was the reason behind me being here and I just wanted to tell him that I achieved it and this medal goes to my dad," he added.
Sreejesh said he was prepared to do anything to close out the win against the Germans and told himself he had been working towards this moment for so long.
"For the last penalty corners, I said the same thing: 'You worked hard for the last 21 years and this is what you want to do now, that one save,'" he said.
"And I did it."
Sreejesh’s father Ravindran told ANI: I'm very proud of my son. I don't mind if it is a bronze medal but what matters is that he has got a medal for the country in Tokyo Olympics’.