It’s hard to not make a Chak De! India reference whenever we hear cheerful news about women’s hockey in India. But it becomes even more important to refrain from making it, because the hockey team’s years of continuous effort cannot be reduced to the summation of a movie plot.
But the Indian women’s hockey team on 5th November didn’t (and doesn’t ever) need movie references to win hearts and titles. The team led by Rani Rampal, upset China to win the 2017 Women’s Asia Cup in Kakamigahara, Japan with the final score reading 5-4. The win wasn’t an easy one, for both teams were tied at 1-1 and the match went into a nail biting penalty shoot-out, according to a report.
Rampal, Monika Malik, Navjot Kaur and Limina Minz secured the winning goals for the team. But it was goalkeeper Savita Punia’s final save that sealed the deal. (Seriously, watch the video below and try not thinking about Vidya Sharma’s last save during the World Cup in Chak De! India. Try it.)
— Hockey India (@TheHockeyIndia) November 5, 2017
India had previously played and lost against China in the 2009 Asia Cup final. But this win has not only been a big celebration for Indian hockey, but has also qualified the women’s team for the 2018 Women’s Hockey World Cup in England. The team had not qualified for the last two world cups.
Earlier this year, the men’s team had also won the men’s Asia Cup. But possibly, the women’s team’s smiles curve a little wider this year for after years of trying to make a space for themselves in a sexist environment for women’s sports in India (gender pay gap, we see you), they are buried under accolades and praises from people like Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, President of India Ram Nath Kovind, former men’s hockey team captain Viren Rasquinha, actor Amitabh Bachchan and many more.
Congratulations to our women’s hockey team for winning the Asia Cup. Now looking forward to glory in the 2018 World Cup! #PresidentKovind
— President of India (@rashtrapatibhvn) November 5, 2017
— sachin tendulkar (@sachin_rt) November 5, 2017
— Viren Rasquinha (@virenrasquinha) November 5, 2017
Congratulations Hockey India 🇮🇳 women on the superb win against China 🇨🇳 at the Asia Cup !#AsiaCup2017
— Babita Phogat (@BabitaPhogat) November 5, 2017
— Rajyavardhan Rathore (@Ra_THORe) November 5, 2017