Skipper Savita Punia led from the front with a spectacular display as the Indian women’s hockey team overcame New Zealand 2-1 in the shootout to win the bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games today.
This is the team’s first medal at the CWG in 16 years.
The women’s team celebrates winning the shootout against New Zealand. pti
In regulation time, Salima Tete had given India the lead in the 29th minute. But a late twist saw India conceding a penalty corner with less than 30 seconds left for the final hooter to blow. After a Navneet Kaur foul, the umpire rightly awarded New Zealand a penalty stroke and Olivia Merry equalised to take the match into the shootout.
In the shootout, Punia pulled off three big saves to give her side its third CWG medal. After Megan Hull put New Zealand ahead in the shootout, an agile Punia denied Rose Tynan, Katie Doar and Olivia Shanon, while Sonika and Navneet scored for India to register a famous win.
Bouncing back from their heartbreaking loss to Australia in a controversial semifinal, India showed the intent to wrap up their campaign on a positive note. The Indians were done in by a horrendous timing faux pas in the shootout against Australia.
“We knew it wouldn’t be easy, so before we came, we worked every minute and every second. I am so proud. We fought as a team,” Punia said. On the pressure of being a goalkeeper in the shootout, she said: “The pressure is always there, but all credit goes to my coach (Janneke Schopman) who told me: ‘You are good, so just believe in yourself and watch the ball’.”