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India scalp Pak for hockey gold
Amardeep Bhattal
Tribune News Service

Hyderabad, October 31
Hosts India capped their brilliant performance in men’s hockey, beating Pakistan 3-1 to clinch the gold in a high-voltage final of the first Afro-Asian Games at the Gachibowli stadium here tonight.

At half time, India were leading by two goals to one.

After Arjun Halappa put India ahead through a penalty stroke in the 10th minute, Pakistan restored parity through Ghazanfar Ali who scored off a penalty corner. But at the stroke of half time, Len Aiyappa’s drag flick off a short corner once again put India in the lead. Star forward Gagan Ajit Singh’s brilliant field goal towards the end of the second half made the issue rather safe.

And when the long hooter blew, it was ecstasy all around. The jam-packed stadium reverberated with cries of joy and soon the emotions spilled over to the pitch itself. Coach Rajinder Singh was bodily lifted by members of the Indian team amidst thunderous cheer to register their appreciation for the efforts that he and deputy Baldev Singh put in grooming the side into the stuff that champions are made of.

Incidentally it was India’s second victory over Pakistan within a short span after the historic Asia Cup win at Kuala Lumpur in September.

Much before the start of the contest, serpentine queues of ticket holders gave an inkling of the things in store. Emotionally charged youngsters carrying the Tricolour, a group of Sikhs waving saffron flags with the ‘Khanda’ embossed in the middle, women draped in the national flag, and a group carrying drums set the tone for the electrifying contest.

That the massive crowd was not willing to settle for anything less than an Indian victory was clear at the very onset. The moment the Indians entered the stadium a thunderous cheer went up even as laser beams wove intricate patterns in the night sky right behind.

India fielded the young Harpal Singh in place of Kanwalpreet Singh, who had aggravated a hamstring injury earlier. And expectedly the 19-year-old boy from Sirsa did not disappoint. His brilliant tackling and anticipation surely won the hearts of many of those present.

India’s first goal coming in the 10th minute was the result of a move initiated by Prabhjot, Arjun Halappa and Deepak Thakur. But as Deepak tried to push the ball in, Pakistan goalkeeper Mohammed Qasim’s unfair tackle prompted the umpire to award a penalty stroke which was converted by Halappa with ease (1-1).

Pakistan hit back forcing a series of penalty corners and after one unsuccessful attempt, Ghazanfar Ali scooped the ball in making it 1-1.

Pakistan defender Tariq Imran who was keeping a close watch on Gagan Ajit Singh was issued a warning for rough play.

India also earned penalty corners in the 25th and 27th minutes but Dilip Tirkey's hits were slightly off the mark.

A few minutes before half time, India scored their second goal. Having earned a penalty corner, Len Aiyappa took charge and his well-directed drag flick gave Muhammad Qasim absolutely no chance (2-1).

In the second half, Pakistan mounted tremendous pressure forcing penalty corners in rapid succession. But full backs Dilip Tirkey and Harpal Singh were unbeatable. Goalkeeper Devesh Chauhan was outstanding under the Indian bar with several spectacular saves.

The third goal for India came off a move by Prabhjot who put Gagan Ajit in possession. Gagan raced to the far end of the 'D' before despatching an angular hit which brooked no resistance (3-1).

Thereafter the Indians not only defended well but also kept Pakistan on tenterhooks with repeated attacks. The young and energetic Viren Rasquinha was a constant source of inspiration to the midfield.

Coach Rajinder Singh, speaking to The Tribune immediately after the historic triumph said: " It is triumph of team spirit of the young team."

Echoing similar sentiments, Baldev Singh said it was a well earned victory and India certainly deserved the gold.

Teams: India: Devesh Chauhan, Bharat Chetri, Dilip Tirkey (capt), Kanwalpreet Singh, Harpal Singh, Bimal Lakra, Vikram Pillay, Ignace Tirkey, Prabodh Tirkey, Viren Rasquinha, Len Aiyappa, Gagan Ajit Singh, Deepak Thakur, Prabhjot Singh, Sandeep Michael and Arjun Halappa.

Pakistan: Muhammed Nadeem (capt), Muhammed Qasim, Ali Raza, Tariq Imran, Ghazanfar Ali, Muhammad Saqlain, Ahmed Wasim, Muhammad Salim Khalid, Mudassar Khan, Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abassi, Adnan Maqsood, Tariq Aziz, Akhtar Ali, Zeeshan Ashraf, and Salman Akbar. 

Celebrations mark win
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, October 31
In a scene reminiscent of India’s historic victory over Pakistan in cricket World Cup, jubilant Ludhianvis came out on the streets and assembled on the roof tops to celebrate India’s win over arch rivals Pakistan to win the Gold Medal in the Afro Asian Games.

There were similar scenes in other parts of Punjab. It seemed to be another Divali. Colourful fireworks illuminated the sky and people were seen dancing on the streets. In Ludhiana, several roads were jammed as people queued up outside shops showing the hockey match live.

Hockey seemed to be returning to its pristine glory in the region as reflected by the mood of the people. Taking a cue from a placard in the Hyderabad stadium announcing Gagan Ajit Singh as the Tendulkar of Hockey, people raised slogans in praise of the ace forward.

People went into raptures when Gagan Ajit scored the third goal, increasing the margin by two goals over Pakistan. It was at this time that the first firecrackers were heard. The noise of the crackers became deafening as the hooter went off. A number of young girls also joined boys in the celebrations.Back

India-Pakistan title clashes in hockey

India's maiden title win in the first Afro-Asian Games at Hyderabad today was their 13th major hockey crown. They have lifted the Olympics title eight times, Asian Games title twice, World Cup once and the Asia Cup once . The following is the list of Indo-Pak title-round clashes in major meets:

1956 Melbourne Olympics: India won 1-0.

1958 Tokyo Asian Games: India drew with Pak 0-0 but lost out on goal difference.

1960 Rome Olympics: India lost 0-1.

1962 Jakarta Asian Games: India lost 0-2.

1964 Tokyo Olympics: India won 1-0.

1966 Bangkok Asian Games: India won 1-0.

1970 Bangkok: India lost 0-1.

1974 Tehran Asian Games: India drew 1-1, but lost 0-2 in replayed final.

1975 Kuala Lumpur World Cup: India won 2-1.

1978 Bangkok Asian Games: India lost 0-1.

1982 New Delhi Asian Games: India lost 1-7.

1982 Karachi Asia Cup: India lost 0-4 in final league match.

1985 Dhaka Asia Cup: India lost 2-3.

1989 New Delhi Asia Cup: India lost 0-2.

1990 Beijing Asian Games: India lost 2-3.

2003 Kuala Lumpur Asia Cup: India won 4-2.

2003 Hyderabad Afro-Asian Games: India won 3-1.Back


India’s hat-trick of wins against Pak
Prabhjot Singh

India's 3-1 win over Pakistan in the final of the inaugural Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad on Friday evening was its 36th victory in 107 matches the two traditional arch rivals have played against each other since December 6, 1956.

The win also gives India its second title in a month. The win becomes all the more credible as the home team beat new African champions and Olympic qualifiers, Egypt, in the opening match of the Games. While Egypt has qualified for the Athens Olympics next year, India is to play in a tough Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Madrid (Spain) in March next year.

Incidentally, India also completed its third hat-trick of triumphs over Pakistan in 47-year-old rivalry. India's current spate of wins started with its maiden title triumph in 22-year-old Asia Cup competition at Kuala Lumpur last month. It was followed by a splendid 4-2 win in a pool match of the Afro-Asian Games.

India recorded its first hat-trick of triumphs over Pakistan in April, 1984, ina Test series played in the Middle East where the latter won by an identical margin of 1-0 in Kuwait (April 5 and 6) and Doha (April 8).

The second hat-trick followed in 1985. After losing Asia Cup game to Pakistan 2-3 at Dhaka on January 28, 1985, India won the next four games, two of which were played in Dubai. A 2-1 win at Perth on November 16 saw India completing its second hat-trick of triumphs. India capped it with 1-0 win over Pakistan at Ipoh to make it four-in-a-row.

On the other hand, Pakistan's record against India is much more impressive. Pakistan has recorded four four-in-a-row trail of victories over India. But of late, India has been doing better winning five of last eight games against their traditional rivals with one game ending in a draw.

And of late, Rajinder Singh Senior-Baldev Singh team of coaches has brought India more title triumphs in international hockey than other team of coaches in the past two decades.

While Rajinder Senior comes from Amritsar, Baldev Singh, originally from Ludhiana, is the man responsible for bringing Shahbad Markands on international hockey match.

Four of his trainees - Surinder Kaur, Gurpret Kaur, Jasjeet Kaur and Suman Bala -- were members of the Indian team that won the women's gold in Afro-Asian Games yesterday. Besides, one of his young trainees, Harpal Singh, a Namdhari boy, was a member of todays' champion team.Back

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