India after winning Gold by beating Pakistan 4-2 in penalties at Incheon on Thursday © Getty Images
India after winning Gold by beating Pakistan 4-2 in penalties at Incheon on Thursday © Getty Images

Incheon: Oct 2, 2014

India’s chief hockey coach Terry Walsh described Thursday’s Asian Games gold medal victory as “a big moment for the sport in the country”. India ended a 16-year gold medal drought, defeating defending champions Pakistan 4-2 in a penalty shoot-out after the two teams were locked 1-1 in the regulation time, earning a direct berth to the 2016 Rio Olympics. “I am very pleased for the team and the players. It’s a big moment for the players and my congratulations to them. It’s a special moment for Indian hockey,” he said.

Walsh said Pakistan started off well but his team took control in the second quarter. “They played exactly like they did earlier. In the second quarter we took them apart and they couldn’t recover the lead again,” he said, adding: “Pakistan adopted an old style of hockey, but we played the modern game. That was the difference. Our players stayed mentally alert throughout. Playing with only passion is not enough. In our coaching group we have real experience to handle this.”

Captain Sardar Singh described the win as one of the biggest moments of his life. “This is one of the biggest moments for me. We came here to win the Asian Games and directly qualify for the Rio Olympics and we have achieved our aim,” he said.

The centre-half praised coach Walsh and the support staff. “Pressure was there but coach and other support staff neutralised it when we went into the game,” he said. India had won gold in 1966 and 1998 Asian Games, while Pakistan had won the title eight times.

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