Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, August 3
It was a day of rollercoaster emotions for fans of Indian hockey. When the Indian men led Belgium 2-1 in the semifinals of the Olympic Games hockey, it was a moment to celebrate — but as they conceded goals to first give up their advantage and then concede the lead, joy turned to despair.
The families whose sons were playing in Tokyo went through the same emotions — joy and despair. But there remains the hope of a medal, which a win over Germany in the bronze playoff would ensure.
Manjit Kaur, mother of Indian captain Manpreet Singh, was crestfallen after today’s loss. She was unhappy, and said her son was in the same state of mind when they talked after the match. “Khush nahi si oh,” she said.
“All of us are disappointed after today’s loss,” she added. “Let’s see what happens in the next match with Germany… Asi Germany nu easy nahi lai sakde (we can’t take it easy against Germany).”
Hoping for bronze
The families of the four players from Amritsar district are also hoping for a bronze with a win over Germany. Balwinder Singh, father of Dilpreet Singh, said he spoke to his son after the match. “He sounded a little disheartened, and I told him to not lose heart over a result which cannot be altered,” said Balwinder. “I told him — put all your energy into the next match as the whole country would be looking at all of you with hope.”
“It is better to have something rather than nothing,” said Hardev Singh, father of Shamsher Singh, from Attari village. “One out of the two teams must lose. Sadly, it was not our day.”
Sarbjit Singh, father of Harmanpreet Singh, said he spoke to his son and his room partner Mandeep Singh to motivate them for the crucial match against the Germans.
“I told them to not brood over a lost match and focus on the next match as the whole of India hopes for a hockey medal this time,” Sarbjit said. “Anyway, it is not a small feat that after decades, this team reached the semifinals at the Olympics.”
“I told them they played well today, and that it was only in the last 10 minutes that Belgium steered the match in their favour,” he added.
Gurjant Singh’s father Baldev Singh said the team played well for the most part. “They led 2-1 in the first half and it was only in the second half that Belgium converted penalty-corners into goals. This means our team’s field hockey is strong enough to counter direct attacks,” he said, hoping the team would ensure a medal on Thursday.
In Faridkot, the family of drag-flicker Rupinder Pal Singh remains confident that the team would come back with a medal. “They still have a chance to secure a bronze medal, and I have no doubt that the boys will bring back a medal,” said Rupinder’s father, Harinder Singh.
(With inputs from Amritsar & Faridkot)
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