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Thursday, July 25, 2024

‘All our hard work paid off’ : Hockey Haryana Coach

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Rourkela: Hockey Haryana on Sunday were crowned Champions of the 13th Hockey India Sub Junior Women National Championship 2023 after they defeated Hockey Jharkhand 3-2 in the final of the 11-day tournament which was held at the Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela, Odisha.

Notably, Hockey Haryana came from behind twice to defeat Hockey Jharkhand in a thrilling encounter. After Sangita Kumari (7′) and Ankita Minz (27′) netted a goal each to put Hockey Jharkhand in front, Bhavya (25′, 58′) equalised and then won the game for Hockey Haryana. Meenakshi (36′) also scored a crucial goal for the Champions.

With the win, Hockey Haryana not only successfully defended their title but also remained unbeaten in the tournament.

Speaking on their successful campaign, Hockey Haryana’s Coach Azad Singh Malik said, “We are elated to defend the title. Despite trailing twice in the summit clash against a strong team like Hockey Jharkhand, we didn’t lose our confidence, stuck to our plan, and backed our skills to make a comeback and win the game. Moreover, we remained unbeaten in the tournament which definitely is a testament to the persistence and perseverance of this squad.”

“Ahead of the tournament, we had a training camp where we worked on our defence, attack, set-play, and other aspects of our game, so all our hard work and preparations paid off and helped us win the trophy,” he added.

Meanwhile, Hockey Association of Odisha finished third in the tournament as they defeated Uttar Pradesh Hockey 4-3 in penalty shootouts after regulation time ended with both teams scoring a goal each in the closely-fought 3rd/4th Place match. Rashmi Raikwar (6′) gave an early lead to Uttar Pradesh Hockey, but Sonali Ekka (43′) converted a late penalty corner to help Hockey Association of Odisha level the score and force penalty shootouts.

It was Hockey Association of Odisha’s goalkeeper Amisha Kullu who emerged as a star player in the penalty shootouts as she saved two of the five penalties, while Team Captain Tanuja Toppo, Binati Minz, Amisha Ekka, and Sonali Ekka convert their chances to seal the victory for Hockey Association of Odisha and ensured podium finish for their side.

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