Indian Women’s Hockey Team Takes a Step Forward to 2016 Olympic QualificationNobody, not even the staunchest of supporter, could have imagined a victory for Poland in the final of the Hockey World League Round 2 played in New Delhi on Sunday against India, the highest ranked women’s hockey team of the tournament. However, both India as the winner, and Poland as the runners up qualified for the World League Round 3, a step forward towards Olympic 2016 qualification.

Before they played the final, India had scored 36 goals and conceded none. They were placed 13 places above, and had already defeated Poland 2-0 in the league stage. Poland, on the other hand, had scrambled to the final with a 1-0 victory over Malaysia. India, expectedly, emerged victorious in the final against Poland with a score line reading 3-1. However, India faced tuff opposition from Poland. India could take the lead with a goal in the last minute of the first quarter when Vandana Kataria scored her 11th goal of the tournament by a back stroke on a pass from the captain Ritu Rani. The lead, however, was nullified within a minute when Poland converted a penalty corner. With four minutes left in the third quarter, Poland had a chance to take shock lead, but that was not to be. In the next minute, India again took lead after Rani Rampal sent the ball into the net. India increased the margin in the dying moments of the game with the goal by Ritu Rani.

Despite the loss in the final match, Poland also qualifies for the next stage of the game, Round 3, after which the teams finishing within the top six would qualify for the Rio Olympic Games 2016. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has congratulated the Indian Women’s hockey team on their winning the final, and added that “the entire nation was proud of them”.

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