The Indian women's hockey team defeated South Africa 4-3 in their final Pool A match at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games in the Oi Hockey Stadium on Saturday. The match had a rather panic-stricken start as there were four referrals in the first two minutes itself which kept the video umpire busy. However, eventually, it was India who took the early lead through Vandana Katariya as she netted an early goal following a superb run from Navneet Kaur. The South Africans did manage to equalise in the final minutes of the first quarter with Christie Glasby's goal but clearly the Indians had dominated that passage of play.
The Indians scored early again in the second quarter and took the lead with Deep Grace and Vandana combining through a penalty corner with the latter coming to India's rescue yet again. Just like the first quarter, Indians dominated the second one too, but conceded in the final seconds to go to half-time at 2-2.
Vandana Katariya completes hat-trick
While the Rani Rampal-led Indian side scored their third goal with Neha netting in this one to once again put them in the lead, South Africa equalised again in the match and the quarter ended with both teams on parity. But it was the final quarter which sealed the game in India's favour as not only did India defend well but Vandana completed her hat-trick to score the match-winning goal for the the team. With this final goal, Vandana Katariya scored the first-ever hat-trick for the Indian Women's Hockey Team in the Olympics. The result has kept India's hopes of a quarterfinal berth alive but their progress to the next stage of the competition will depend on the result of the game between Ireland and Great Britain later in the day.
One of the best performers at the Olympics by Kamalpreet Kaur
In another big news from Tokyo, discus thrower Kamalpreet Kaur produced one of the best performances by an Indian at the Olympics, although it came in the qualifying round and she made it to the final of the event after finishing second. The 25-year-old sent the discus to a distance of 64 m in her third and final attempt to be one of the only two automated qualifiers for the final round. America's Valaire Allman is the second.