Oh cricket-crazy Indians! This is to bring to your narrow attention the achievements of the Indian Women's Hockey team. After a lone appearance in the Olympics 35 long years ago, the hockey eves are all set to make the cut again. This is following their credible victory over a much higher ranked Japan to finish 5th in the recently concluded Hockey World League in Antwerp Belgium.
"So, whats so great about finishing 5th?" you may ask, and your question may not be too unreasonable. There is still a lot of work to do before they can take on the might of the top-ranked Holland and Australia (who they have managed to hold to a goalless drawn in the recent Hawkes Bay cup). And by "might", I mean not only the skill but also the muscle. I think Holland women's hockey team might even match a top-10 Men's team. But in spite of their visible shortcomings, Indian girls intent was clearly visible. Having FIH rank of 13, to beat Japan placed 3 ranks higher is very credible. Their loss 2-4 to Australia (world number 2) may not look great on paper, but their performance was their best of the tournament as they were the only team to have even pulled level in terms of scoring twice before eventually losing to Australia.
So, after following both the Men's and the Women's hockey through the Hockey World League Semifinal tournament, I find that the Indian eves are among the fastest improving sides (along with Italy). Men's team who finished a decent fourth, haven't managed to beat any better ranked team and had actually struggled against lower ranked teams like France, Malaysia and Pakistan before avoiding a loss (No complaints though. This only shows that Indian Men have neither over performed, nor underperformed).
I think due credit should be given to Hockey India who have provided good coaches during recent times.
Great going girls and all the best