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Indian men's hockey team dedicates Olympic bronze medal to doctors, Covid-19 frontline 'warriors'

Indian men's hockey team dedicates Olympic bronze medal to doctors, Covid-19 frontline 'warriors'

Posted: Sep 27, 2021 11:50 AM
Updated: Sep 27, 2021 11:50 AM

Amid the joy of the Indian men's hockey team ending its 41-year Olympic medal drought its players took time to reflect on the impact Covid-19 has had on the country over the last year.

The team -- the most successful in the history of the Olympics with eight gold medals -- claimed the bronze medal with a 5-4 victory over Germany at the Oi Hockey Stadium in Tokyo on Thursday.

"The last 15 months was so difficult for us also, because we were in Bangalore, we spent too much time there away from the family," said the Indian men's hockey captain Manpreet Singh.

"We would like to dedicate this medal to doctors who have saved so many people's lives there in India and everywhere in this world. So, we'd like to dedicate this medal to those warriors," added Singh.

According to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, there have been almost 32 million positive cases of Covid-19 in India, as well as 426,290 deaths.

The Indian men's hockey team hadn't medaled since Moscow 1980, when they won the last of their golds.

"Today we have made 1.3 billion Indians proud by finishing on the podium," said Singh.

Goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh called the bronze medal "a rebirth."

"It's been 41 years. In the 1980s we won the last medal and after that, nothing. Today when we won it, this gives a boost and gives energy to the youngsters to pick up hockey, play this game. This is a beautiful game," said Sreejesh.

India lost only two matches in Tokyo against Australia and Belgium, and the two face each other in the final.

Team India has won four medals at Tokyo 2020 overall and is aiming to surpass its best Olympic haul of six medals at London 2012.

Goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh called the bronze medal "a rebirth."

Despite being the world's second-most populous country, a lack of funding and proper infrastructure have prevented India from becoming an Olympic powerhouse.

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At the same time, many athletes choose to play cricket, a non-Olympic sport that enjoys much bigger fanfare in the subcontinent.

However, the number of Indian Olympians has, in recent years, risen steadily as the government invests more in sports and athletics.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted to congratulate the team on their win.

The-CNN-Wire
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