The Indian women’s hockey team’s dream of winning its first Olympic medal was dashed on Friday when it lost 3-4 to Great Britain in a hard-fought bronze play-off match at the ongoing Games in Tokyo.
The Indian women had already made history and surpassed all expectations by reaching the Games’ semifinals for the first time.
The first Olympic medal, however, remained out of reach as world no.4 Great Britain, who won gold at the 2016 Rio Games, triumphed in the tense contest.
The heartbreak came just one day after India’s men’s team ended a 41-year medal drought by winning bronze with a 5-4 victory over Germany.
The Indians battled back from a two-goal deficit to take a 3-2 lead into halftime.
But, in the second half, a desperate Great Britain gave everything they had and scored two goals to take the match away from India.
Gurjit Kaur (25th, 26th minutes) and Vandana Katariya (29th minute) scored three goals in five minutes to stun Great Britain.
However, the British team won thanks to four goals from Elena Rayer (16th), Sarah Riobertson (24th), skipper Hollie Pearne-Webb (35th), and Grace Baldson (48th).
India’s best Olympic performance was a fourth-place finish in the 1980 Moscow Games. There were no semifinals in that edition because only six teams competed in a round-robin format, with the top two advancing to the final.