Odisha Women’s Hockey Team Emerges National Champion

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Women’s Hockey Team on Tuesday emerged champions at the 12th Hockey India Senior Women National Championship. The Odisha Women’s team defeated Karnataka 2-0, clinching the first-ever gold in senior nationals.

The Final match was a closely contested affair between Hockey Karnataka and Hockey Association Of Odisha. Both the teams started well, as they created several goal-scoring opportunities. However solid defensive performances from both the sides ensured that the match went into the Halftime with the scoreline reading 0-0. Punam Barla (34′) opened the scoring in the match in the third Quarter as Hockey Association Of Odisha picked up the lead. Ashim Kanchan Barla (59′) sealed the game with a late goal as Hockey Association Of Odisha beat Hockey Karnataka 2-0 to claim the Championship.

Expressing his delight after the Title win Hockey Association Of Odisha Head Coach Edgar Joseph Mascarenhas said, “We did not take Hockey Karnataka lightly. Even though we missed a couple of chances, we played well and had a lot of ball possession which was our game plan. We dominated the ball in midfield. We scored a goal in the third quarter to put them under pressure and then we closed the game with a late goal.”

He also went on to credit the senior players in the team for holding the team together in crucial situations. “We had set ourselves very positively coming into this tournament. We practiced really hard, twice a day in the heat of Odisha. We played to our strengths throughout the entire tournament. The senior players really held the team together and our Goalkeeper played magnificently on the field,” he said.

The first game of the day saw Hockey Haryana face off against Hockey Jharkhand for the 3rd/4th place position. The thrilling contest saw Dipti Toppo (28′) open the scoring for Hockey Jharkhand, followed by goals from Albela Rani Toppo (40′), and Betan Dungdung (43′). Amandeep Kaur (55′) and Bharti Saroha (56′) scored a goal each for Hockey Haryana to take the game to the wire, but Hockey Jharkhand managed to pick a 3-2 win to earn a third-place finish in the competition.