Jakarta: The Indian women hockey team’s dream of reclaiming the gold at the Asian Games after 36 years remained unfulfilled as they lost 1-2 to Japan to settle for the silver medal here Friday. It was yet another heartbreak for Indian hockey, a day after the fancied men’s team lost to Malaysia via penalty shoot-out in the semifinals.
Coming into the match, the Indians were favourites to the title as they are ranked five places above Japan at ninth in the world rankings. But the Japanese matched India stick for stick and took the lead in the 11th minute when Minami Shimizu converted their first penalty corner.
India, however, did not give up and pressed hard for the equaliser which came in the 25th minute when Neha Goyal deflected in a Navneet Kaur reverse hit pass, as both the teams went into the breather locked at 1-1.
The Japanese, however, came out rejuvenated after the change of ends and restored their lead through another penalty corner conversion, by skipper Motomi Kawamura in the 44th minute.
In the final quarter, the Indians pressed hard in search of the equaliser but Japan defended in numbers to win the match and claim the gold medal.