11 things to know about Gurjit Kaur whose goal led Indian Women’s Hockey Team to semi-finals
The Indian women’s hockey team has grabbed a spot in the semi-finals of the Tokyo Olympic Games and the credit majorly goes to the final goal by Gurjit Kaur.
India’s last best performance in the Olympics was back in the 1980 Moscow Games where they finished fourth out of six teams. In that edition of the Games, women’s hockey made its debut in the Olympics and the sport was played in a round-robin format with the top two teams qualifying for the finals.
Let us know more about the Indian hockey player who brought about the historic 1-0 win over Australia in the quarterfinals.
- Gurjit Kaur is a field hockey player from India who plays at the position of a defender in the team. Kaur is also referred as the drag flicker of the Indian Women’s Hockey Team.
- The hockey player hails from a farming family in the Miadi Kalan village in Amritsar, Punjab. She has one elder sister named Pradeep Kaur.
- Despite of their background, Kaur’s parents Satnam Singh and Harjinder Kaur wanted their daughters to receive a good education and so they sent them to a private school over 13 km away in Ajnala. Mr. Satnam would take both the daughters on his cycle to the school and wait until their school got over to ferry them back every day. In 2006 they finally took the decision of sending them to a boarding school in Kairon. Kairon is famous for women’s hockey in India, and it was here where the sisters discovered her passion for hockey. Their prowess in the sport helped them earn a place in the government wing of the school, thus ensuring free education and food.
- Later Kaur moved to Jalandhar’s Lyallpur Khalsa College for Women where she pursued her higher education along with her training and developed an interest in drag-flicking.
- Kaur’s first job was in the Indian Railways as a junior clerk in Allahabad through sports quota.
- Gurjit got her first shot at playing for the country when she was called for the Senior National Camp in 2014. However, it was only in 2017 that she became a permanent member of the Indian women’s hockey team.
- The player then represented India internationally in many matches, most recently at the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
- Kaur first came into the spotlight at the 2017 Asia Cup, in which the Indian Women’s Hockey team were the continental champions and also earned a spot at the 2018 Hockey World Cup to be held in London.
- She emerged as the most successful goal-scorer of the Indian team in the 2018 Hockey World Cup with 8 goals. Kaur ended the tournament as the third-highest goal scorer, in which the Indian team again emerged victorious as the continental champions.
- In the lead-up to the tournament, the Indian team played a series of five matches against Spain’s national team during their Spain Tour, which they won. In the finals, Kaur netted two goals alongside skipper Rani Rampal who also scored a double, bringing the final score to 4–1 for the victory.
- Kaur also showcased an impressive performance at the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia. Although India could not secure a podium finish, Kaur drew attention after her two penalty corner conversion goals against Malaysia in its second pool A match during the series, helping India score a 4–1 win.
Thank you, Gurjit, for taking us one step closer to a dream Olympic outing. Let’s hockey for the Gold now.
This story was first published on Life Beyond Numbers.