Bekele, Degitu win first international edition of TSK 25K

Kolkata: Multiple times world champion Kenenisa Bekele kept his reputation intact cantering past the finish line in the maiden appearance of TSK 25K in its international avatar with a timing of 1.13.48 , even as over 13700 participants took to the streets on a nippy winter morning.

In the Elite national section winner Avinash Sable set a course record of 1.15.17 breaking the previous course record set by G Lakshmanan who came third with a timing of 1.17.13 which is also better than his mark set last year. Kalidas Hirave came second with 1.16.18. Thus all three bettered last year’s record of 1.17.23.

The Ethiopian world champion earlier paced his race brilliantly staying in the mix till the 21st kilometer when he broke loose and by the time he was across the finish line his closest competitor was nowhere in sight.

The leading group went through the 7.5km checkpoint in a sluggish 24:24. Just before halfway, Bekele briefly went through a bad patch and drifted off the back of the leaders, with his compatriot Asefa Diro leading at 12km in 39:09 and Bekele seven seconds adrift in fifth place.

However, the multiple world champion and world record holder soon got back up with the group containing Diro, Eritrea’s Tsegay Tuemay, Tanzania’s Augustino Sulle and India’s Avinash Sable before surging away with just under seven kilometres to go. His move almost immediately splintered the leading group with nobody able to stay with him once he moved into a higher gear. Tuemay eventually crossed the finish line on Kolkata’s historic Red Road in second place in 1:14:21 with Sulle third in 1:14:41.

Later Kenenisa said: “The race was very nice. The course is nice and flat all through. I have been training hard and the results showed. This was my first 25 K and it feels good to have won it. It was a tactical race and I paced myself depending on the kind of competition I faced.”

“The weather was good, though a little smokey in certain parts. But it was not difficult to manage. I had a great race and would like to come back here next year. Kolkata has been very warm and hospitable and I would like to laud Procam for organizing such a well managed race,” he continued.

The Ethiopian however wished he had a pacemaker to push down his time. “In a race like this you need a pacemaker, who sets you up for a fast finish. I was pushing myself, but that was not enough. I would have pushed my timing by 90 seconds at least had I a pacemaker,” Bekele rued.

Avinash Sable said: “I am concentrating for steeplechase. That is my event. The only reason I am running in the 25K is to increase my endurance. The fact that I have come first here goes to say that I am on the right track. My aim is the Commonwealth Games and a podium finish there in my pet event.”

In the elite women group the first place was taken by Ethiopian Degitu  Azimeraw with a timing of 1.26.01, followed by Kenyan Helah Kiprop with a timing of 1.26.04 and Tanzanian Failuna Matanga with 1.26.11.

In the Indian women’s L Surya won with 1.26.53 timing beating Sudha Singh’s course record of 1.27.31 . Manju Yadav came second at 1.32.51, while Jhuma Khatun came third with 1.32.58. All three ladies were from Railways.

The race was flagged off by Hon’ble Gobvernor of West Bengal Kesari Nath Tripathi, H H Shri Shri Ravishankar, General Abhay Krishna, GOC&C Eastern Command, Arup Biswas, Minister PWD and Sports, T V Narendran, MD Tata Steel.

Event Ambassador Sourav Ganguly and International Ambassador Mike Powell were at the starting line to encourage the runners. Later Ganguly said: “This is amazing to see the number of people come out and run in the morning. The world Champion running here and a world record holder long jumper watching the race makes TSK 25K really special.”

He exchanged a few words with Bekele once he crossed the finishing line breasting the tape held by the Prince of Calcutta and the man with a record that stands over quarter century Mike Powell.

Powell said: “I am thrilled to see so many people come out and run. And the standard of the elite field is also great. The race is competitive and fun to watch.”

Photos: Ajay/SportsIndiaLive

Indian Women’s Hockey Team grouped with England, Ireland and USA for the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018

New Delhi, 26 November 2017: The Indian Women’s Hockey Team will be grouped with England, Ireland and USA in Pool B for the prestigious Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 scheduled to begin on 21 July 2018.
The 16 national women’s teams qualified for the event now know who they will face in next year’s pinnacle event with the pools and schedule for the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 officially released by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) today.
Fans can also get in on the action with all remaining tickets now released for general public sale via the official ticket website. A look at the schedule reveals some fantastic match-ups as the top teams in the world prepare to go head-to-head.
While in Pool A, the world number one side and current holders of the World Cup, Netherlands, await the challenge of Asian giants China and Korea as well as rising European stars Italy, Pool B is headed by the host nation and World No.2 England. They will face tough challenges from the Indian Women’s team who were recently crowned Asia Cup Champions which won them the World Cup berth. USA who won the 2017 Hockey World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg and Ireland also feature in Pool B.
India will face hosts England in their first match on July 21. “We look forward to the challenge in Pool B. England (World No.2) and USA (World No.7) are ranked above us but the Indian Women’s team is on the rise with confidence-boosting performances in the past few months. Every match at the World Cup is important and each match needs to be played like a Final. It will be crucial for us to have a good outing in the Commonwealth Games next year so we carry a winning momentum into the World Cup. We have set our sights on Mission 2018 and all our training will be focused on peaking at the prestigious tournament,” stated Indian Women’s Team Chief Coach Harendra Singh.
Argentina are ranked number three in the world, and they have European rivals Germany and Spain to contend with, along with African continental Champions South Africa in Pool C. Pool D sees Oceania rivals Australia and New Zealand go head to head along with Japan and 2017 Rabobank EuroHockey Championship runners-up Belgium.
There are some amazing games to look forward to in the Pool stages, with many matches guaranteed to have fans on the edge of their seats.
With England’s 10,000-seater Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park sold out for six sessions, including all England’s Pool matches – plus their potential quarter-final, the semi-finals and final, fans should not hesitate in snapping up the remaining tickets.
For those who can’t make it to the venue, this event will be broadcast to millions across the world in over 100 countries through FIH’s global broadcaster partners.
With eight months between now and the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018 and today’s release of the match schedule, the countdown has really begun.

Sathiyan enters Spanish Open final; Manika-Mouma pair sets the tone

New Delhi, November 26: G. Sathiyan entered the men singles final of 2017 Challenge Spanish Open when he defeated Lam Siu Hang of Hong Kong 11-7, 11-8, 11-3, 8-11, 12-10 to become the first Indian to do an encore in a Challenge series at Almeria today.

He will take on sixth-seed Japanese Kazuhiro Yoshimura in the final to be played latertonight. The Japanese downed Ng Pak Nam, the No. 14 seed, from Hong Kong 8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 3-11,11-5, 11-7 in a tough first semi-final earlier.

As for the Indian, who has a World Tour series title from Belgium Open in 2016, it looked all easy when he quickly went 3-0 up against the Hong Kong player. But the latter made most of Sathiyan flaws and took a comfortable lead of 8-4. Yet, Sathiyan closed in on his rival before he won with a sizeable margin.

In the fifth game, however, it was Lam who surged ahead with a winning lead of 9-5 but squandered it to allow Sathiyan level 9-9 and go 10-9 up. As he served for his match point, he failed to keep the ball in play and it allowed a lifeline to his opponent. After deuce, he served but a powerful backhand return from Sathiyan forced Lam block but the ball went out for Sathiyan to let out a big scream in elation.

It was an unexpected win for Sathiyan in the semi-final when he sent the third seeded Iranian, Noshad Alamiyan, packing rather cheaply as he the Indian won 7-11, 11-6, 11-9, 11-7, 11-6.

Manika-Mouma in maiden final

Earlier, the Indian pair of Manika Batra and Mouma Das entered its maiden women doubles final after accounting for the local favourites Ana Garcia and Xuan Zhang 9-11, 11-7, 11-7, 6-11, 16-14. The second-seeded Indian duo began sluggishly, losing the first game but grew in confidence to lead 2-1 rather easily. However, the Spanish pair came back strongly to level score and taking the issue to the decider.

The Indians did well to keep a slender lead and combining well posed sufficient problems to the Spaniards. But credit to the local girls who fought well and mounted pressure on their opponents after deuce.

The decisive saw Indians losing three match points before they held their fourth to enter the final where they will meet the top-seeded and a strong Korean pair of Jihee Jeon and Haeun Yang. The Koreans beat Ukraine’s Ganna Gaponova and Ievgeniia Vasylieva 10-12, 10-12, 11-9, 11-5, 11-7.

The Koreans have an impeccable record of 14 final appearances on the ITTF World Tour, with seven titles to their credit!

Boys win first-round

Meanwhile, the junior boys’ team of Manav Thakkar, Manush Shah and Snehit Suravajjula blanked out New Zealand 3-0 in the their first round group D match in the 2017 World Junior Table Tennis Championships, currently on at Riva del Garda in Italy.

In the opening rubber Manush Shah defeated Dean Shu 11-3, 11-6, 11-3, while Manav overcame a tough Alfred Dela Pena 5-11, 11-6, 8-11, 11-4, 11-7. In the third rubber, Senhit accounted for Victor Ma 11-4, 11-9, 11-7


India v Sri Lanka Test series, 2017 – Stat Preview

Number one Test team is ready to take on Sri Lanka in a three-match Test series starting November 16. Here are some number games between the teams.

0 Number of Test matches won by Sri Lanka in India. There have been 17 Tests played between the teams in India in a bilateral series, India winning 10 of those while seven matches have been drawn. Overall, India has won 19 matches against the Lankans out of 40 matches played.

8-3 India’s record against Sri Lanka in a bilateral Test series. So far 15 Test series played between the teams, India having upper hand with eight series win.

8 Wickets required to Ravichandran Ashwin to become the fastest to claim 300 Test wickets. He has 292 Test wickets in 52 matches. Dennis Lillee of Australia holds the fastest 300 Test wickets which he achieved in his 56th match against Pakistan at Brisbane. Which means, Ashwin needs 8 wickets in this Test series to top the table.

10 Test hundreds by Virat Kohli as a captain for India; the second-most by Indian Test captain. Little Master Sunil Gavaskar holds the record of most Test Hundreds (11) by an Indian captain. Virat has an opportunity to surpass Gavaskar in this series.

10 Wickets needed to Rangana Herath to become the highest wicket-taker left-arm bowler in Tests. Pakistan’s Wasim Akram has 414 Test wickets which are the record by the left-arm bowler.

Table Tennis: Lower groups throw surprises, leaders packed off

Thane, November 14: Paddlers in top six groups hardly dropped a sweat as they retained their position to move into the main draw of Sub-Junior Girls in the 11Sports National Ranking Championships (West) for the Mayor Cup at the Dadoji Konddev Stadium here today.

Tisha Kohli of Delhi, Kavyashree Baskar of Tamil Nadu, Radhapriya Goel of UP, Cathrin Tina Dass of Tamil Nadu, Sharmitha Srinivasan, also of Tamil Nadu, and Pritha Vartikar of Maharashtra easily beat their group rivals. There were similar results in some other groups, too, except for some topsy-turvy outcomes in a few where the group toppers were sent packing.

For instance, Delhi’s Tamanna Gulshan, who is ranked in the 9-16 brackets, could not take the advantage of the walkover of a player from her group and lost the only match that she had to play against Sayali Wani of Maharashtra as the latter won 12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9 in group 7.

In group 8, Meghana Karandikar of Maharashtra toppled Fatema Kadri of Gujarat in straight games to enter the main draw, courtesy the lone win and a walkover from the third player. In Group 17, Aafrien Murad of Gujarat beat both the No. 1 and No. 2 players, Sucheta Prosad of West Bengal 3-0 and then accounted for Sayali Baxi of Maharashtra 3-1 to advance. In group 19, Ratnabali Pathak of West Bengal did a similar act against Taniya Patil of Goa, beating her 3-1 and then downing Poonam Yadav of Maharashtra in straight games.

In group 22, Aneeha D’Souza of Maharashtra entered the main draw after accounting for the top two players Sania Bhowmick of North Bengal (3-0) and Kaashvi Gupta of Delhi (3-1).  There were other upsets when Sampada Bhiwandkar of Maharashtra, Aditi Joshi of Karnataka and Kalyani Dhinesh, also of Karnataka, surprised the group leaders to make it a memorable outing for them.

It will be a draw of 64 in both the Sub-Junior Boys and Girls categories with the top eight ranked players getting at least byes in the first round. The third round matches, currently on, will decide which of the 32 boys who will make the cut.

Meanwhile, the Cadet Boys and Girls group matches get underway from tomorrow.

Important results:

Sub-junior Girls Qualifying: Group 7: Sayali Wani (MHR) bt Gulshan Tamanna (DLI) 12-10, 11-5, 9-11, 8-11, 11-9;Group 8: Meghana Karandikar (MHR) bt Fatema Kadri (GUJ) 12-10, 11-9 11-8; Group 17: Aafrien Murad (GUJ) bt Sucheta Prosad (WB) 5-11, 13-11, 12-10, 11-7; Group 19: Ratnabali Pathak (WB) bt Taniya Patil (GOA) 11-4, 10-12, 11-7, 13-11; Group 22: Aneeha D’Souza (MAH) bt Kaashvi Gupta (DLI) 4-11, 11-9, 11-6, 11-3; Group 23: Taneesha Kotecha (MHR) bt Nehal Venkatasamy (TN) 11-5, 11-3, 11-13, 10-12, 13-11; Group 25: Sneha Bhowmick (WB) bt Vartica Bharat (UP) 11-5, 10-12, 11-4, 12-10; Group 26: Sampada Bhiwandkar (MHR) bt Spriha Devanath (WB) 11-8, 11-6, 11-13, 11-7; Group 29: Aditi Joshi (KNT) bt Kavisha Parekh (GUJ) 11-6, 11-6, 11-13, 11-3; Group 30: Kalyani Dhinesh (KNT) bt Anoushka Chatterjee (GUJ) 11-6, 12-10, 11-7.

2nd edition of Hockey India 5-a-side Senior National Championship 2017 (Men and Women) starts tomorrow in Pune

Pune, 13th November 2017: After tasting success in their 1st edition last year, the futuristic Hockey India 5-a-side Senior Hockey National Championship 2017 (Men and Women) is back with its second edition starting in Pune, Maharashtra onTuesday, November 14 at the Shivaji Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Balewadi, Boxing Hall.

The six-day domestic extravaganza will see teams vie for top honours in three categories – Men’s, Women’s and the all-new Combined Men & Women event which will see men and women play in a combined team on November 18.
Hosted by Hockey Maharashtra, the 2nd Hockey India 5-a-side Senior National Hockey Championship 2017 will see a star-studded line-up with members of the Indian Women’s Hockey Team, who recently created history by clinching the 2017 Asia Cup in Japan, turn up for their respective state teams.
The Combined event is pegged as the most exciting event of the tournament which will put both men and women on an equal pedestal to showcase their talent in the most exciting format. A team participating in this category will feature a minimum of either 4 men or women in their team of nine member 5-a-side team. In this category, Hockey Haryana, Uttar Pradesh Hockey, Hockey Odisha and Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu form Pool A whereas Hockey Maharashtra, Hockey Karnataka, Hockey Punjab and Hockey Jharkhand are in Pool B.
In the Men’s category, Hockey Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh Hockey, Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu and defending Champions Hockey Maharashtra are placed in Pool A while Hockey Haryana, Hockey Odisha, Hockey Jharkhand and Hockey Punjab will lock horns in Pool B.
In the Women’s category, Hockey Haryana, Hockey Karnataka, Hockey Odisha and Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu will make up Pool A while Hockey Punjab, Hockey Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh Hockey and Hockey Jharkhand are in Pool B.
This exciting short format is played on a 38.5 meter x 22.5 meter size indoor court. In this format, each team consists of 9 members, out of which only 5 members can be present on the court at any given time of the match which includes one goalkeeper. The duration of the match is 30 minutes which is divided into three periods of 10 minutes each with an interval of 3 minutes between the periods.
The key differences from outdoor field hockey are in terms of the way the goals are scored and penalties are imposed. A goal is awarded when a goal is scored from anywhere on the court which is unlike traditional hockey where you cannot score directly from outside the circle. In addition, the ball is moved using a push, scoop or flick and no hitting is allowed as it is played in an indoor arena.
In terms of fouls, only free hits and challenges are awarded for respective offences by an attacker or defender. A Challenge is similar to the way shootouts are conducted in modern hockey. Free hits and fouls follow the same rules as modern hockey as well.

Rani’s golden goal ensures Indian Women’s Hockey Team win Asia Cup after 13 years

Kakamigahara (Japan)5 November 2017: Indian Women’s Hockey Team create history as they beat China in a tense shootout to lift the Women’s Asia Cup 2017 after 13 years and qualify for next year’s Women’s World Cup as Continental Champions here at Kakamigahara Kawasaki Stadium in Japan. It was India skipper Rani who scored the winning goal for India while Savita made a great save in sudden death to ensure India the 5-4 score in penalty shootout. Earlier, it was Navjot Kaur who scored India’s lone goal in the 25th minute. It was in 2004 when Indian Women’s Team lifted the Asia Cup after beating Japan 1-0 in the final.
It was advantage China right at the start as a stick check in the circle saw India concede a penalty corner in only the second minute of the game. However, Indian goalkeeper Savita was at her usual best to pad it away while an alert Deep Grace cleared the ball. Soon after, Indian forwards launched a swift attack with Navneet Kaur and Vandana working in tandem to find space in the Chinese D but an attentive Wang Na averted the danger. China, meanwhile, won their second PC but Savita was spot on yet again to pad away Meiyu Liang’s flick.
With the first quarter ending in a stalemate, India came back looking determined to find a breakthrough. The Indian forwards kept the pressure on China as they made brave forays into the striking circle. Navjot Kaur came close to converting a field goal in the 17th minute but her diving effort was blocked even as skipper Rani made a quick attempt to find a deflection. It was not until the 25th minute when India found its first breakthrough when Navneet Kaur and Rani played give-and-take before penetrating the circle only to assist Navjot who took a clear shot on goal. It was a much-needed 1-0 lead for India. Though China launched a counter attack soon after, Indian defenders were up to the task in denying success.
India began the third quarter rather positively as they stayed persistent with an aggressive attack. They dominated the ball possession with accurate passing, rotating the ball and testing China’s patience. Neha Goyal and Lilima Minz showcased good dribbling skills to steer past Chinese defenders but a second goal was not to come by even as the clock ticked away to the third hooter. On China’s part, they stayed disciplined in their defence to deny India a chance to score through a PC.
The final quarter was tense as China won a PC through successful video referral in the 47th minute. Tiantian Luo kept low as she improvised from the injection to find the right corner of the post, scoring a sensational equalizer for China. The following minutes saw both teams play on par with each other not allowing either of them to stay in control. With nine minutes left for the final hooter, India upped their attack desperately attempting to find a gap in the 15-yard mark but Chinese defenders were resolute not allowing any room for error.
Meanwhile China won their fourth PC of the match with little less than three minutes to go for the final whistle. But it was brilliantly saved by rusher Sunita Lakra and almost immediately, India launched a counter attack but only to send the ball wide off the target and complete the full-time in stalemate resulting in a shootout. In the penalty shootout Rani scored twice while Monica, Lilima Minz and Navjot scored a goal each to ensure India reclaimed the Asia Cup title after 13 years. Savita was adjudged Goalkeeper of the Tournament while Monica won Woman of the Match award.
It is a sweet double for both Indian Men and Women as they are crowned Asia Cup Champions this year.
The victorious Indian Women’s Team will arrive on 6 November 2017 at 9.00PM at the IGI Airport New Delhi.

Indian Junior Men’s Hockey Team lose 3-4 to Australia in 7th Sultan of Johor Cup 2017

Johor Bahru, Malaysia, 26 October 2017: The Indian Junior Men’s Hockey team lost 3-4 to Australia in a high scoring encounter in their fourth match of the 7th Sultan of Johor Cup 2017 at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium here today. Dilpreet Singh (30’, 47’) and Sanjay (9’) scored for India in the match but goals from Joel Rintala (3’), Coby Green (36’), Jonathan Bretherton (45’) and Nathan Ephraums (49’) were enough for Australia to secure the victory.

Australia dominated the proceedings in the initial stages of the first quarter as they attacked the Indian defence to start on a bright note. This resulted in the Australians winning a penalty corner in the 3rd minute of the match which was well converted by Joel Rintala to give his side the lead. However, after conceding an early goal, the Indian team stepped up their efforts in the latter half of the first quarter and won themselves a penalty corner in the 9th minute which was finished off by Sanjay to level the scores at 1-1.

The game was very well balanced between the two sides throughout the second quarter as both the defences showed resilience to keep out the efforts. However, in the last minute before the half-time hooter, a misplaced pass from the Australians led to beautiful counter-attacking play from the Indian side meant that Dilpreet Singh scored from just inside the circle with a fiercely struck shot to give India a 2-1 lead at half-time.

In the third quarter though, Australia focused on getting an equalizer by controlling the rhythm of the play and attacking the Indian defence with some fast-paced passing. This meant that the Australians finally managed to convert another penalty corner in the 36th minute when Coby Green found himself free in front of goal after the drag-flick was not successfully executed by his teammates. Australia then scored again in the 45th minute to take a 3-2 lead when another unsuccessfully executed penalty corner was followed up by a well taken shot on goal by Jonathan Bretherton.

In the last quarter, it was India who had to put pressure on the Australian defence to find an equalizer, and they did so successfully when a long pass to forward Dilpreet Singh was calmly finished off by him to level the scores in the 47th minute. However, India could only stay level at 3-3 for two minutes as Australia’s Nathan Ephraums converted a penalty corner in the 49th minute to give Australia a 4-3 lead. India tried to equalize yet again in the last ten minutes of the match, but their efforts were kept out by a resolute Australian defence which meant that Australia won the match by a score-line of 4-3.

India will now face Great Britain in their fifth match of 7th Sultan of Johor Cup 2017 on Saturday, 28th October 2017 at 13.35 hrs IST.

India all set to participate in the FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2017 in Mongolia

Bengaluru, 26th October 2017: The FIBA 3×3 Asia Cup 2017 will take place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia on October 27-29 2017.Mongolia will host the second edition of the most important 3×3 competition for national teams in Asia and – for the first time – Oceania. The inaugural edition was held in Doha, Qatar on May 15-16 2013.This will mark the first time ever Mongolia hosts a FIBA 3×3 official event. The Indian women’s team are entering the tournament with high hopes as they are the defending champions of the first edition of this tournament.

Team India(Women)

Sr. No.



Date of Birth



Shireen Vijay Limayee

184cm/ 6’0″



Raspreet Sidhu

171cm/ 5’7″



Jeena Palanilkumkalayil Skaria

179cm/ 5’10”



Gia Merlin Varghese

174cm/ 5’8″


The women’s team are in Pool D alongside Kyrgyzstan and New Zealand.They play their first match against Kyrgyzstan at 13.50 A.M(11.20 A.M IST), 27th October and the second match against New Zealand at 15.20 A.M(12.50 A.M IST) on the same day.

Team India(Men)

Sr. No.



Date of Birth



Ravi Bharadwaj 204cm/ 6’8″ 31/10/1992


Anil Kumar Bukankere Krishne Gowda 185cm/ 6’0″ 31/07/1989


Gurvinder Singh Gill 201cm/ 6’7″ 21/01/1996


Jeevanantham Pandi 205cm/ 6’8″ 13/10/1994

The men’s team are in the Qualifying draw along with Lebanon and Chinese Taipei. They play their first match against Chinese Taipei at 8.50 A.M(6.20 A.M IST), 27th October and the second match against Lebanon at 9.30 A.M(8.00 A.M IST) on the same day.

1st FIBA Asia 3X3 Championship for Men & Women was held at Doha, Qatar from 15th to 16thMay, 2013. The Indian Women team won GOLD medal and Geethu Anna Jose was selected member of the Dream Team, All Star team of Women. The Men team reached the Quarter final stage.  (Mens Team – Ajay Pratap Singh, Pratham Singh, Arjun Singh, Ranbir Singh & Mr. Shakti Sinh Gohil as Manager; Women Team– Geethu Anna Jose, Anitha Paul Durai, Manisha Dange, Pratima Singh and Dr. Suman Sharma as Manager). Qatar won the championship for Men. Geethu Anna Jose was declared the MVP for women.

Indian Men’s Hockey team win the Hero Asia Cup 2017

Dhaka (Bangladesh), 22 October, 2017: Indian Men’s Hockey Team were crowned as the Hero Asia Cup 2017 Champions after they beat Malaysia 2-1 in the Final of the tournament here today at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium. Goals from Ramandeep Singh (3’) and Lalit Upadhyay (29’) secured the title for India as Malaysia failed to make an impact on the game in the early stages but came back with a solitary goal through Shahril Saabah (50’).
This is the third time that India have won the Asia Cup title and after a gap of 10 years. The team started the match aggressively, making clear that their intention was to win the title against the second highest ranked team in Asia. It was in the 3rd minute that the Indians found a gap in the Malaysian defence when SV Sunil played a pass from the right flank to find Ramandeep Singh inside the circle, who hit the target on his second attempt to give India the all-important lead in the Final.
India continued to dominate the possession in the first quarter as Malaysia failed to produce any good opportunities. The second quarter also saw India produce some outstanding attacking play as they looked to extend their lead. However, Malaysia held on and created some chances of their own as the Indian defence stood tall to deny Malaysia of any real opportunities to score. At the stroke of half-time, it was India was threatened again through the left flank as Akashdeep Singh found Sumit in an advance position with a long pass and the latter then found Lalit Upadhyay inside the circle, who then calmly tapped in the ball in the back of the net to make it 2-0 in India’s favour.
The third quarter was a balanced one where Malaysia started to open up spaces in the Indian defence but all their efforts were well kept out.
India on the other hand, had opportunities of their own in the latter part of the third quarter but could not produce a third goal to seal the deal. Malaysia took advantage of the same as they came back hard in the fourth quarter scoring a field goal in the 50th minute via Shahril Saabah as the Indian defence failed to stop the Malaysian attackers.
Malaysia kept up the pressure on the Indian defence in the final 10 minutes of the match, but India absorbed the attacking forays made. The Indian team showed some resolute defending in the last five minutes to keep their 2-1 lead intact. In the end, the defensive skills displayed by India were enough for them to clinch the title after a gap of 10 years.