CM hails Indian eves hockey performance in Tokyo Olympic
Two from Jharkhand in Indian women hockey contingent
Ranchi, August 2: Euphoria was writ large on the faces of people in villages of Jharkhand, as the women’s hockey team – that includes two players from the state – made a historic advance in the Tokyo Olympics 2020.
Braving incessant rainfall, villagers in Simdega and Khunti arranged generator sets and televisions to watch their daughters perform in the mega sporting event.
As the women’s hockey team – that includes two players from the state – made a historic advance in the Tokyo Olympics 2020
The world no. 9 women’s side from India produced a stellar performance against three-time champions Australia on Monday to catapult to its maiden semifinals in the Olympics.
As the hockey eves stunned their opponents with a 1-0 victory in a nail-biting finish on Monday, the whole of Simdega erupted in joy, celebrating India women’s maiden entry to the hockey semi-finals of the Olympics.
Hailing the Indian women’s hockey team, Chief Minister Hemant Soren said: “The daughters of the country have created history by entering the semifinals for the first time in Olympics. Many congratulations to our daughters for the stellar performance.”
Soren had last month announced a cash award for the Jharkhand players – Rs 2 crore for winning the gold medal, Rs 1 crore for the silver medal and Rs 75 lakh for bronze.
The Indian women will now take on Argentina in the semifinals on August 4.
While this is Salima’s first exposure on the Olympics stage, Nikki is representing the country in the Olympics for the second time.
Olympian Salima Tete’s village in Badkichapara in Jharkhand’s Simdega district was without electricity since Sunday owing to incessant rain during the last few days. So, her family and a few neighbours pooled in resources to arrange for a generator set to watch their girl play against Australia in Tokyo.
Salima Tete (19) who hails from Badkichapar village in Simdega and Nikki Pradhan (27) from Hesal village in Khunti are a part of the women’s hockey team that made history in Tokyo earlier in the day.
At Tete’s hut, which is made of mud, her parents Subani and Sulakshan could hardly hold back tears when the final whistle was blown, putting India a striking distance from Olympic gold.
Her parents recollected how their daughter started playing hockey with hand-made bamboo sticks and balls on rough grounds in Barkichhapar, a small village about 30 km from the district headquarters.
One of Tete’s four sisters, Mahima, has also been participating in state-level hockey competitions. Simdega district has earlier produced players like Sylvanus Dungdung and Michael Kindo who had represented India at the Munich Olympics.
Salima’s father Sulakshan Tete, a former player and now a small-time farmer, told local media that every family member harboured a single dream — a medal. “We are naturally excited to see our daughter in the Olympics. But we are more happy to see the team doing well after a poor start in the earlier matches. We are all praying that Team India returns with a medal,” he said.
President of Simdega Hockey Association, Manoj Konbegi, heaped praise on Tete, calling her a “brilliant hockey player”.
Scenes of jubilation were similar at Pradhan’s village in Khunti, where people shouted ”Nikki Nikki” whenever she got the ball, and didn’t move an inch till the final result of India 1 and Australia 0.
Her father Soma said that he is overjoyed at the team’s success and cannot wait for India to bag gold. Choked with emotion, Jeetan Devi, Pradhan’s mother, said God had listened to her prayers.
Pradhan, who had become the first female hockey player from her state to participate in the Olympic Games in the Rio edition, took to the sport at a tender age and fine-tuned her skills at Bariatu Girls” Hockey Centre in Ranchi, where former India hockey captain Asunta Lakra had also trained.
Hockey Simdega president Manoj Konbegi said that the ongoing Olympics would help hockey regain some of its lost glory in the country. “Both the men’s and women’s teams have entered the semifinals. The entire country is now pinning hopes on them like never before. Win or lose, this tournament is sure to help the game and scores of budding players will start to dream big once again,” he said.
Also, Simdega, he added, would live up to its reputation of being the nursery of hockey in the state and churn out more promising players.