Tokyo | Jagran Sports Desk: Indian Men’s Hockey Team beat Great Britain 3-1 to enter the Olympic semi-finals for the first time since 1972 Munich Olympics. The stunning Hockey victory came after Hardik Singh’s winning third goal that made India hot favourites to win the match.

As the final whistle was blown, Indian Men’s Hockey team had scripted history by taking the team to Tokyo Olympics semifinals.

India, led by Manpreet Singh and PR Sreejesh, will next meet Belgium in the semi finals on August 3. The Belgians have had an unbeaten run in Tokyo Olympics so far.

While India made defensive error in the first go, Dilpreet Singh opened the scoreboard for the team and Gurjant Singh doubled it up as a fiercely attacking Indian side took a 2-0 lead by the hald time.

Hardik Singh though scored on his own rebound to give India its third goal while ensuring that for the first time since 1980, Indian Hockey’s podium dream goes on unabated.

Why the semi-final berth is being considered historic for Team India?

The Indian men’s hockey team had won a double hat-trick of Gold medals at Olympics starting from 1928 Amsterdam, 1932 Los Angeles, 1936 Berlin, 1948 London, 1952 Helsinki and 1956 Melbourne.

After a brief silver stoppage by Pakistan in 1960 Olympics, India again won the Gold in 1964 Tokyo Olympics.

However, after Gold in Tokyo 1964 Olympics, India’s Hockey dream run finished with a Bronze in 1968 and 1972 and went on to its then lowest finish (seventh) in 1976. In 1980 Moscow Olympics, India again won the Gold but this time the Hockey had become a six-team Olympics affair due to US-led boycott of Soviet-held Olympics in protest against Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

The Hockey picked a downward slump from 1980 onwards, reaching the lowest in 2008 Beijing Olympics when Indians failed to qualify for Olympics. In 2012 London, India finished last among 12 teams. This was followed by a quarter-final appearance in Rio Olympics 2016.

In Tokyo 2020, India for the first time in 49 years would play in Olympic semi-finals, marking the iconic resurgence of the sport which gave India an Olympic Gold medal 55 years before it won the World Cup in its most popular field sport, the Cricket.

Posted By: Mukul Sharma