It was 15th March 2015 (Yes, there were two matches in the Cricket World Cup that day), when the Indian eves took on Poland at the Hockey World League match in New Delhi’s Major Dhyan Chand stadium. The view was a rather disappointing one as only a handful of spectators arrived at the venue cheering their national team. Most of these were Polish supporters who flew their way to India to support their national team.
But these facts that you are about to read will certainly make you re-consider your stand towards the Indian women’s hockey team.
#1 Indian Women Hockey team – Star performers at Asian Games
- In the inaugural Asian Games in 1982, the Indian eves won the Gold medal in front of the home crowd and made the whole nation proud of its national game.
- The women’s team followed up the gold with a bronze in the next Asian Games and have consistently featured in the top four ever since.
- Overall out of nine Asian Games, the Indian eves managed a medal in five of them including the 1982 gold, silver in 1998 and three bronze in 1986, 2006 as well as 2014 Games.
#2 Top-Scorer award for Jyoti Sunita Kullu at Hockey Champions League 2002
Hockey like football has awards for top goal scorers and an Indian woman was the top-scorer at an International hockey tournament with five goals. India also won the bronze in the competition held at Johannesburg, South Africa.
Jyoti Sunita Kullu has also won numerous laurels with the Indian Women’s Hockey team including the gold in 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games and Bronze at the Asian Games in 2006.
#3 Most promising young talent award for Rani Devi at the 2008 Olympic Qualifiers
The Indian women’s hockey team did not manage to qualify for the Olympics for 2008. Rani Devi, who made her debut during the qualifiers managed to bag the “Most Promising Young Talent Award” for her performances in the Qualifiers.
#4 ‘Chak De India’ and the Commonwealth Games connection
Probably most of you would have watched the movie “Chak De India” where Shahrukh Khan played coach to the Indian women’s team. Well, that was based on a true story.
In the year 2002, India won the gold at the Commonwealth Games in the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games with a win against the English team. The coaching staff for India, included ex Indian goalkeeper Mir Ranjan Negi, and the movie “Chak De” is actually based on his life story.
#5 Hockey World Cup and the Olympics
This is one tournament where the Indian eves don’t have any major trophy to boast about and the Olympics in particular. The Indian women have certainly not achieved what they probably can. But, there is a lot of scope as the Indian women’s hockey team is in position to qualify for the Summer Olympics in Rio next year after a 36 year-long wait. India had last played in the Moscow Olympic Games in 1980 where they missed out on the bronze finishing fourth in the tournament.
India’s qualification for the Rio Olympics is another major reason, why all of us need to give Indian Women’s hockey the status and recognition that it deserves.