Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo Olympics: This match proves dreams can come true, says India coach Marijne

Team KT/Dubai
Filed on August 2, 2021
India's Neha (left) and Navneet Kaur celebrate after defeating Australia in the women's quarterfinal at the Tokyo Olympics. (AFP)

India beat hockey giants Australia to reach their first-ever Olympic semifinals

A jubilant Indian women’s hockey team coach, Sjoerd Marijne, says it was a dream come true for the girls after they stunned three-time Olympic champions Australia to reach the semifinals of the Tokyo Games on Monday.

In what is their only third Olympic appearance, the Indian team made history by reaching their first-ever semifinal in the world’s greatest sporting event with that 1-0 win over Australia.

This is a remarkable turnaround in the fortunes of a team that lost their first three matches in Tokyo, including a demoralizing 5-1 defeat to European giants Netherlands in the opening match.

“After we lost 1-5 to the Netherlands, it looked as if everything was shattered, it wasn't. We only needed to make a few small improvements,” Marijne said after Monday’s win over Australia.

“Today, I told the girls to just play freely. I wanted the players to be proud of themselves, regardless of the result. We defended well today. The defensive structure during penalty corners was very good,” said Marijne, referring to the outstanding work from the Indian defence that thwarted seven Australian penalty corners.

Compared to Australia’s seven penalty corners, India earned only one and drag-flick specialist Gurjit Kaur scored in the 22nd minute.

The heroic Indian defence, led adroitly by goalkeeper Savita, rose to the occasion and negated the Australians that came in waves, looking for an equalizer.

"After we qualified for the quarters, I told the team about the importance of being in the moment and not thinking about what-ifs. So what I did was that I showed the team a movie and the film is about staying in the moment and I think that made a big difference in this match against Australia,” said Marijne whose team will face Argentina for a place in the final.

“This match (against Australia) also proves dreams can come true. If you start believing and you keep believing and you keep working hard, things can happen. You have to do the work to fulfil your dreams and that's what we did today."

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