December 17th, 2016
Image Source: BWF | Hockey India
Five days of work, and after that, finally a weekend off to do what you want, to do as you please. And it’s a chilly Saturday morning, your bed is too comfortable to leave and the best part is you don’t have to force yourself out of bed either. It’s a SATURDAY!
And at long last, when you finally get out of bed and take the first sip of your really-very-late-morning coffee, you cannot help but puff up your chest with pride. And why not? PV Sindhu and the young Indian hockey players have given you enough reasons with their respective performances last night.
While Sindhu overcame Carolina Marin’s challenge at the Dubai World Superseries, the Indian junior team fought past the mighty Australians in the semi-final of the Junior Hockey World Cup. Two different sports, two identical results, to make you forget England’s absolute annihilation of the Indian bowlers at the Chepauk earlier yesterday.
Sindhu came up against world number 2 Carolina Marin in the group stage of the season-ending Superseries finals in what was a rematch of the highly contested Olympic final in Rio earlier in the year. Although Sindhu had given her best, Carolina had triumphed on that occasion, shattering a million hearts in India. Now, it was an opportunity for the 21-year-old Indian shuttler to avenge her Olympic loss. A win would also secure a semi-final berth for Sindhu.
And Sindhu did not disappoint. She dominated throughout the match and secured a win over her Spanish compatriot. And the score-line reflected her dominance as it read 21-17 21-13.
On the other hand, the youngsters of the Indian junior hockey team were up against the mighty Australians, who have dominated the sport in the recent years, at Lucknow.
The last time India won the Junior Hockey World Cup was back in 2001. It has been 15 years and yet we have not been able to win the trophy in a sport that is truly ours. India had never beaten the Australian team in the Junior Hockey World Cup. And it was the semi-finals, a win would pave the way into the finals. The stakes were never higher and the stage was set.
Harjeet Singh and Co. proved their mettle as they held their own against the Australians even after conceding an early goal. At the end of regulation time, the scores were tied 2-2 with Gurjant Singh and Mandeep Singh scoring for India. The match went into the penalty shootouts and after that, it was a battle of nerves. The young Indian players showcased their mental strength and went on to win 4-2 thus taking a step closer to the ultimate dream.
Both Sindhu and the young Indian hockey stars have some distance to go before they can actually win the titles. But all the victories count, more so when they are of this magnitude.
These triumphs are the small steps that lead to the bigger success, the one which beckons these youngsters.