Captain Rani Rampal saved the day by scoring a 48th-minute winner as India beat USA 6-5 on aggregate in the Olympic qualifiers in Bhubaneshwar on Saturday. The men’s team also qualified for the Olympics later in the day by hammering Russia 11-3.
The women’s team were going into the second leg of the tie with a huge 5-1 advantage from the first leg. They were woefully out of touch in the first two quarters of the match on Saturday, as USA went 4-0 up in the second leg to give the hosts a big scare.
Rani Rampal came to the rescue by scoring the winning goal with 12 minutes left on the clock. India then defended their slender lead as plaudits began to be showered on social media for the women’s team’s feat of qualifying for successive Olympic editions for the first time.
Chak De! India
चक दे ! इंडिया 🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/XdfMpj0gHL
— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) November 2, 2019
Well done, Indian 👕 Womans Hockey Team, Congratulations to all the players and coaching staff, well played second half & Captain #RaniRampal Goal confirmed Indian Blues to #Tokyo2020Olympics
& A Big Thanks to Hockey Lovers, Fans for Supporting Women & Men Team 🇮🇳🏑
— Dhanraj Pillay (@dhanrajpillay1) November 2, 2019
Well played! Congratulate @TheHockeyIndia Women’s Team on qualifying for #Tokyo2020 in the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers Odisha. The nation is very proud of what you have achieved here at the Kalinga Stadium. #RoadToTokyo #OdishaForSports
— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) November 2, 2019
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) November 2, 2019
Heartiest congratulations to our 🇮🇳 women’s hockey #team for winning the ticket 2 #Tokyo2020, defeating #USA 6-5 at #FIHOlympicQualifiers in #Odisha.@imranirampal scoring the crucial goal with her experience 👏👏 Its party time 2day …. #IndiaKaGame @FIH_Hockey@asia_hockey
— Jagbir Singh OLY (@jagbirolympian) November 2, 2019
What a match!! But only one thing counts, WE ARE GOING TO TOKYO!!!!!💪🏻💪🏻#canweplayonlythesecondhalf..
— Sjoerd Marijne (@SjoerdMarijne) November 2, 2019
— Jaspreet Sahni (@JaspreetSSahni) November 2, 2019
They did the hardest way one can possibly imagine. But after not competing in the Olympics for 36 years, till 2016, India women’s team qualify for two in two. @imranirampal scores the goal that helps India beat USA 6-5 on aggregate and qualify for #Tokyo2020 #hockey
— Mihir Vasavda (@mihirsv) November 2, 2019
Rani Rampal is indeed the ‘Rani’ of Indian Hockey!! India women qualify for Tokyo Olympics on aggregate (6-5) 👏👏 pic.twitter.com/esgkyRL5tU
— Bharath Ramaraj (@Fancricket12) November 2, 2019
— Vinesh Phogat (@Phogat_Vinesh) November 1, 2019
Happy News From Bhubaneshwar on the auspicious day of #ChhathPooja.
— Sunil Deodhar (@Sunil_Deodhar) November 2, 2019
This is only the third time – the other occasions being 1980 and 2016 – that the Indian women’s hockey team has qualified for the Olympics.