Crowd roars Chak de for hockey heroes
Thousands of spectators today proved that India's national game hockey rules their hearts as they danced, sang and cheered for the men in blue who defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 7-4 to enter the semifinals of the Commonwealth Games.delhi Updated: Oct 10, 2010 22:22 IST
Thousands of spectators on Sunday proved that India's national game hockey rules their hearts as they danced, sang and cheered for the men in blue who defeated arch-rivals Pakistan 7-4 to enter the semifinals of the Commonwealth Games.
The atmosphere at the jam-packed Major Dhayanchand National Stadium was electric with spectators -- many draped in the tricolour -- shouted slogans of Chak de India and Jai Ho from hit films.
Not even for a minute did the crowd stop cheering the team.
As the teams lined up before the start of the match and the Indian national anthem was being sung by the players, the crowd stood up and joined in chorus. However, the crowds reverted to their slogan shouting when the Pakistani national anthem was played.
Every time India scored a goal, people banged on their chairs in rhythm and whistled to acknowledge the strikes.
The Indian tricolour was seen at every nook and corner of the stadium as people cheered for team India.
Congress chairperson Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi also cheered the players. They sat among the common people and stood up and clapped everytime India scored a goal.
"It was breathtaking and what a victory... India defeating Pakistan 7-4. I am so happy that I managed to watch the match live," said an elated Harpreet Singh, a Class 6 student.
Many spectators danced with flags on their shoulders as India scored their first goal, within minutes of start. And after that there was no stopping India, who play England in the semifinal Tuesday.
Ritika Singh, a business executive, said: "India managed to keep an edge throughout the match and the team played quite well. I knew from the start we will win. I wish we win the gold in the Games."
The Games' mascot Shera who made an appearance during the lemon break also got a cheering welcome from the crowd.
As the team India won, spectators stood up and waved at the players.
"This was the first hockey match I watched live and I never thought it will be as thrilling as cricket. I am feeling so good I can't tell you. It was good to see that hockey players get a standing ovation after they won the match," said Shirish Gupta, a government employee.