India beat Pakistan to clinch hockey gold

India beat Pakistan to clinch hockey gold

India won the most cherished gold medal at the 17th Asian Games on Thursday when they defeated Pakistan in the men’s hockey final to earn the top spot for the first time in 16 years.

Years of bitter disappointment melted away and scenes of great joy unfolded at the Seonhak Hockey Stadium when a 4-2 verdict arrived in a penalty shootout, after the teams were deadlocked 1-1 at the end of regulation period.

Goalkeeper P R Sreejesh was the star of the Indian show, making two saves in the shootout while the attackers kept their cool to beat Pakistani goalkeeper Imran Butt on all but one occasion.

The victory ensures India a place in the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, lifting a huge burden off their shoulders while Pakistan have to come through the qualifiers.
“It is one of the biggest moments of my life. We came here to win the gold and directly qualify for the Olympic Games and we have achieved that goal,” said Indian captain Sardar Singh.

This is only India’s third gold medal in Asian Games hockey history.

India had more joy in store at the Asiad Main Stadium, where the women’s 4x400 relay quartet defended its gold medal with a record-breaking performance.

The quartet of Priyanka Panwar, Tintu Luka, Mandeep Kaur and M R Poovamma eased to victory after a slow start, clocking 3:28.68, their fastest time in the last four years. It was also India’s fourth straight win in the event, after victories in Busan (2002), Doha (2006) and Guangzhou (2010).

The country also won three bronze medals on the day — through Inderjeet Singh in shot put, Vikas Krishnan and Satish Kumar in boxing. With nine gold, nine silver and 37 bronze, they are in the ninth position on the table. With both the men’s and women’s kabaddi finals scheduled for Friday, the country can look forward to entering double digits on the gold medal count.

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