A resolute Indian men's hockey team rewrote history as it claimed an Olympic medal after 41 years, defeating a plucky Germany 5-4 to win the bronze in an edge-of-the-seat play-off match of the ongoing Games here on Thursday.
The eight-time former gold-winners, who battled a heartbreaking slump in the last four decades, made the resurgence of the last couple of years count in the best way possible with an Olympic medal.
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Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik, who played a pivotal role in the rise of Indian hockey through sponsorship from the state government, took to Twitter to congratulate the men's team.
"Brilliant in Blue! Congratulations Indian Men’s #Hockey Team on the spectacular victory to give us an Olympic medal after 41 long years. This historic win at #Tokyo2020 will inspire generation of sportspersons. All the very best for future," wrote Patnaik.
Patnaik also spoke to the team and congratulated them for their spectacular victory.
"Many congratulations to our hockey team. The whole of India is so excited as well as Odisha of course. We are all behind you and we wish you the very best and we are looking forward to receiving our Indian Olympics hockey team in Bhubaneswar on August 16," Patnaik said.
The Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha stepped in with a Rs 100 crore deal with Hockey India in 2018. Furthermore, Odisha also became a hub of sorts in Indian hockey, with Bhubaneswar hosting the 2018 Hockey World Cup.
The Odisha capital will also host the 2023 edition of the global tournament.
Determined to clinch a medal, the Indian men's team made one of the most memorable comebacks in the history of the game, fighting back from a two-goal deficit to turn the match in their favour after being 1-3 down thanks to some defensive lapses.
(With inputs from PTI)