Simdega, the hockey hub of Jharkhand, is waiting for Monday to cheer for the Indian women’s hockey team, which will take on Australia in the quarterfinals at 8.30 am, at the Tokyo Olympics.
Two girls from the state — Salima Tete (Simdega) and Nikki Pradhan (Khunti) — are part of the Indian squad. It is for the first time that the national women’s team is playing in the quarterfinals in the Olympics.
Simdega’s joy knows no bounds and the entire hockey fraternity as well as Hockey Simdega, broke into celebrations on Saturday when the team stormed into the semi-finals. A few cheers went up for local girl Salima on the ground where she practised.
As part of the celebrations on the hockey astroturf in Simdega, players of the district under the guidance of Hockey Simdega president Manoj Konbegi and coach of Simdega residential hockey centre along with Salima’s mentor Pratima Barwa chanted, “Cheers for India, Go for Gold, Wishing Victory for India, Repeat the History of 1980 (when India’s men’s team had won gold)”.
Interestingly, the hockey stadium which resonated with cheers has been named after legendary hockey player of the district Michael Kindo, who had been part of the team which won a bronze in the 1972 Munich Olympics.
“We are sending our wishes to both the men’s and women’s teams,” said Barwa. “Simdega has been organising different programmes to support national sides,” said Konbegi.
The national men’s team is already in the semis by beating Great Britain 3-1 on Sunday. They will play with Belgium.