National Games hockey: Karnataka, Haryana emerge men’s and women’s champions

Karnataka and Haryana lived up to their rankings to claim top honours in the men’s and women’s sections respectively of the hockey competition in the 36th National Games at the Dhyanchand Hockey Stadium here on Tuesday.

Karnataka men beat Uttar Pradesh 5-4 via the tie-break after the teams were locked 2-2 in regulation time. Haryana women regained the title they had lost in 2015 by edging out arch-rivals Punjab by a solitary goal.

Making it to the final after 21 years, Karnataka scored through S.V Sunil and Harish Mutagar while Sumit and Manish Yadav replied for Karnataka in regulation time.

In the penalty shootout, Nikkin Thimmaiah CA, Harish Mutagar, Abharan Sudev, and Mohammed Raheel found the net for Karnataka while Rajkumar Pal, Rahul Kumar Rajbhar, Vishal Singh and Sumit were successful for Uttar Pradesh. Rajkumar Pal failed for Uttar Pradesh in the sudden death but Abharan Sudev beat Uttar Pradesh keeper Prashant Kumar to ensure the gold medal for the southerners.

Karnataka proved they meant business as they went about their job clinically by making use of the wings and short passes. Uttar Pradesh, who had sneaked into the final by beating Maharashtra via the penalty shoot-out, matched their rivals with their long passes and good interceptions.

Rani Rampal’s strike turned out to be the match-winner in a thrilling women’s final against arch-rivals Punjab.

The India skipper, who had scored five goals against Uttar Pradesh in the semifinal, netted in the 30th minute to regain the title they had lost to the same team in Keral” in 2015.

“We have won many times, but this victory against Punjab is”very special,” Rani “ampal said.

“We played well, but missed a couple of chances which made”the difference,” said Punjab skipper Gurjit Kaur, who had scored the first hat-trick of the tournament.

Savita Punia stood between Punjab and victory as she brought off many saves including a one-to-one against Punjab striker Lalremsiami in the last quarter.

Earlier, Aishwarya Rajesh Chavan scored a hattrick as Madhya Pradesh beat Jharkhand 5-2, while Maharashtra prevailed over Haryana 5-4 via the tie-break shoot-out after the teams were locked 2-2 in the regulation time.

It was a good comeback by Maharashtra as they were 1-0 down till the fourth quarter. They took a 2-1 lead with five minutes to go, but Haryana came back to level the score.

The pint-size striker Aishwarya scored in the 11th 40th and 43rd minutes with Jyoti Pal and Sadhna Senger chipping in with one each for Madhya Pradesh. Sangita Kumari and Deepika Soreng found the net for Jharkhand.

Looking for their second bronze medal this year after the senior women’s nationals in Lucknow, Jharkhand were good in the second quarter but succumbed to the better play of their rivals.

“The credit goes to the players who were disheartened after the 1-2 defeat in the semifinal to Punjab, but they have made up and we are going home with a medal,” said Raina Yadav, manager of the team.

“It is an amazing win and we thank the MP Sports Minister Yashodhara Raje who is the person behind this success. When she was the minister she made changes for the betterment of women’s hockey and the girls have reaped the fruits,” said coach Paramjit Singh.

Madhya Pradesh made their intentions clear, striking twice in the first 15 minutes of the game. Manisha Chauhan and Jyoti Singh did most of the spade work upfront. They converted their first penalty and later struck with a field goal during this period. This left the Jharkhand defence in disarray. There was a fightback by the Bigan Soy-coached Jharkhand in the second quarter, but it was the only time they were in the match. As the game went along, their spirit diminished and the hat-trick by A”shawarya put them off track.

“We were left wanting in many departments in the last match, and it has been a learning process. We made amends and it paid off, said jubilant Madhya Pradesh skipper Ishika Chaudhary.

Results:

Women:

Final:

Haryana: 1 bt Punjab: 0 . HT: 1-0

Bronze medal playoff: Madhya Pradesh 5 bt Jharkhand: 2. HT: 2-0.

Men

Final: Karnataka 2 bt Uttar Pradesh 2 via tie-breaker 5-4. HT: 1-0; FT: 2-2

Bronze medal playoff: Maharashtra 2 bt Haryana 2 via tie-breaker 5-4. HT: 0-1: FT: 2-2.

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