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Indian Hockey Team in Asian Games 2023

Indian Hockey Team in Asian Games 2023, Performance HIGHLIGHTS: Current Affairs

Indian Hockey Team in Asian Games 2023 has achieved a historic feat by winning the gold medal, held in Hangzhou, China. The team defeated Japan, the defending champions, by a convincing margin of 5-1 in the final match on October 6. With this victory, India also secured a direct berth for the Paris Olympics 2024, avoiding the longer and tougher qualification process.

How India Outplayed Japan

India dominated the match from the start, creating several scoring opportunities and putting pressure on the Japanese defence. However, Japan managed to keep India at bay in the first quarter, thanks to some brilliant saves by their goalkeeper Takumi Kitagawa. India had a goal disallowed in the dying seconds of the first quarter, as the referee had already blown the whistle for a penalty corner.

India finally broke the deadlock in the second quarter, when former captain Manpreet Singh scored a stunning reverse hit from the edge of the circle. Japan tried to respond with some attacks of their own, but India’s goalkeeper PR Sreejesh was alert and made some crucial saves.

The third quarter saw India extend their lead with two more goals from penalty corners. Current captain Harmanpreet Singh, who is widely regarded as the world’s premier drag flicker at present, scored his 12th goal of the tournament with a powerful strike into the bottom left corner. Amit Rohidas then added another goal with a clever variation, deflecting the ball into the net.

India continued their onslaught in the fourth quarter, scoring their fifth goal through Abhishek, who tapped in a cross from Nilakanta Sharma. Japan managed to pull one back through Tanaka Seren, who scored from a penalty stroke after India’s defender Surender Kumar fouled him inside the circle. However, it was too little too late for Japan, as India held on to their four-goal lead and celebrated their triumph.

What This Means for Indian Hockey

This is India’s fourth gold medal in men’s hockey at the Asian Games, after 1966, 1998 and 2014. India had finished with a bronze medal in the previous edition in Jakarta in 2018. This is also India’s first major title under their new coach Craig Fulton, who took charge of the team after their historic bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics earlier this year.

By winning the gold medal at the Asian Games, India have also qualified for the Paris Olympics 2024, which will be held from July 26 to August 11. India are the first team to book their spot for the mega event, as only the winners of the continental championships get a direct entry. The rest of the teams will have to go through a series of qualifiers and playoffs to secure their tickets.

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India’s performance at the Asian Games 2023 is a testament to their recent rise in world hockey. They are currently ranked third in the world, behind Australia and Belgium. They have shown that they can compete with and beat the best teams in the world, as they did at the Tokyo Olympics, where they defeated Germany to win their first Olympic medal in 41 years.

India’s success at the Asian Games 2023 is also a result of their consistent efforts to improve their game and develop their talent pool. India have invested heavily in grassroots hockey programs, such as Hockey India League and Khelo India Youth Games, which have provided exposure and opportunities to young players across the country. India have also benefited from having world-class facilities and support staff, such as foreign coaches, physiotherapists and nutritionists.

India’s men’s hockey team has made the nation proud with their stellar performance at the Asian Games 2023. They have shown that they are a force to reckon with in world hockey and have set their sights on achieving greater glory at the Paris Olympics 2024.

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