Indian men’s team crushed Russia 7-1 in the second leg and booked their spot at Tokyo 2020 with an emphatic 11-3 aggregate win on Saturday.
Later in the day, skipper Rani Rampal’s 48th minute strike sealed Tokyo Olympics berth for the Indian women’s hockey team as they pipped USA 6-5 on aggregate despite losing 1-4 in the second leg of the FIH Qualifier.
After both the teams missed their opportunities at the Asian Games 2018, the women settled for silver while the men bagging the bronze, both the Indian teams grabbed their second chance by the scruff of the neck to seal India’s hockey representation at next year’s Summer Olympic Games.
After thrashing USA 5-1 on Friday, it was expected to be a formality for the Indian women but they were given a real scare by the USA women, who raced to a 4-0 lead at the halfway mark.
However the partisan fans went into raptures when Rani pulled one back to maintain the slender lead till final hooter.
Coach Marijne sharedthe advice he gave the team during the match:
“At half time, I told the girls, it’s 0-0, you start fresh. We can’t change what happened in the first half, but we can change what will happen in the second half.”
The Indian men, ranked fifth in the world, had earlier defeated world number 22 Russia 4-2 in the first-leg on Friday.
Twitterati congratulated both the teams for making India proud, while also wishing them luck for the Olympics.