Chak De: Indian women's hockey team qualifies for Rio Olympics
Another hockey dream has bloomed, it's time to say Chak De India to women's hockey in the country.
India's women hockey team has qualified for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, claiming their berth thanks to the England team who defeated Spain in the semifinals of the EuroHockey Championships in London on Friday.
England's victory over Spain, coming after the Netherlands' win in the first semifinal meant two teams that have already qualified for the Olympics were in contention for the European Continental title, thus freeing a quota place.
The India women team thus clinched its ticket to Rio through their fifth place finish at the Hockey World League Semifinal in Antwerp. The international hockey federation (FIH) confirmed India's qualifications on Friday night soon after it emerged that either England or the Netherlands will win the European championships.
India women joined the nine teams already qualified for Rio - Korea as Asian Games champions, Argentina as Pan Am Games champions and Great Britain, China, Germany, Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and the USA through the Hockey World League Semifinals.
This is only the second time that India women will be participating in Olympics and the first time they have that they have qualified for the Olympics. The only other time they participated in the Olympics, they made it to the inaugural women's competition in 1980 Moscow Olympics through invitation. India had finished fourth in 1980.
Qualification for Rio Olympics is a big boost for Indian women's hockey as the teams have come close many time in the past only to fall on the last hurdle. Playing in Rio in the competition involving top countries will be a big boost for the girls and would attract more youngsters to the team that has always played second fiddle to their male counterparts.
The Indian men's team was the first to clinch their berth to Rio after winning the Asian Games gold medal last year.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal and Kidambi Srikanth are among players who will feature in the three-leg Asia Series.
- Kenin lost to ninth-seeded Maria Sakkari 2-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the quarterfinals. Svitolina lost to unseeded Russian Veronika Kudermetova 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (3).