TEAM GB woman’s hockey side have followed up their 2016 Olympic Gold success by clinching bronze in Tokyo after a thrilling 4-3 victory versus India in the early hours (Friday, August 6), continuing their back to back places on the podium for the female side across three summer games.
And the whole team will be thanking a Gosport star for her part in this latest success as one of just seven players still playing from 2016, quickly following on from early local success for Portchester’s BMX rider last weekend.
Similarly to Rio, the field hockey goalkeeper Maddie Hinch has proved to be one of the best performing stars for Team GB this summer with a number of brilliant saves. This included a player of the match versus Netherlands in the pool stages to keep scores respectable in a 1-0 defeat, which was quickly followed up by saving four penalties in a shootout versus Spain on Monday morning.
These two performances earned high praise for Hinch, originally from the Hill Head area of Gosport, with her head coach hailing the goalkeeper as ‘one of the best goalkeepers in the world’ during BBC interviewers after her display against the Spanish.
Despite conceding five goals in the semi-final defeat to the Netherlands, Hinch was a spectator in the first quarter of the bronze medal final as Great Britain dominated; finally taking the lead in the second as Elena Raynor forced the ball into the corner off Deep Grace Ekka’s stick to spark relieved celebrations.
Minutes later it was 2-0 as Sarah Robertson scored an excellent goal with India down a player, but India came firing back with three goals after Hinch’s excellent stick save down low.
Quickfire penalty corners from Gujri Kaur levelled the tie for India, who have surprised everybody by reaching this stage of the competition, before a third goal was allowed for Vandana Katariya after a long wait for video referrals to be examined putting the Indians ahead. The goalscoring wasn’t done there as GB captain Hollie Pearne-Webb equalised in the third quarter with the Indian goalkeeper performing her own highlights reel with some outstanding stops.
Team GB’s dominance finally paid off as Grace Balsdon scored the winning goal for her nation, netting past the Indian defence after a series of penalty corners on the left. Despite some late attempts from India who never gave up, GB held on to win bronze and made it two wins out of two versus their opponents after beating them 4-1 in Pool B to help them qualify for this stage.
This narrow but deserved victory at Tokyo’s OI Hockey Stadium means that Team GB have matched their successes in London 2012 and Barcelona 1992, with the most recent bronzes sandwiching their famous gold medal five years ago. Highlights from this morning’s game can be found on the BBC website alongside other events from the last 11 days of sporting achievements.
Team GB have won 52 medals so far and sit sixth in the medal table with sixteen golds (7am, Friday morning); although guaranteed boxing successes are likely by the end of the day with British athletes participating in gold medal finals. The Tokyo Olympic games will finish on Sunday (August 8), before the Paralympics begin in the same city sixteen days later on 24/08. The showcase of disabled athletes will finish in the first week of September, with huge successes predicted across multiple sports and categories.