Indian men's hockey team scripted history in the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday, defeating Germany 5-4 to bag a bronze medal at the quadrennial sporting extravaganza after nearly 41 years.
The country's last success at the Olympics came in the 1980 Moscow games in Russia, where the men's hockey team got the gold. In the 1968 Mexico games and the 1972 Munich Games too, India bagged the bronze.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called up the winning men's hockey team members in Tokyo and congratulated them for finally breaking the Olympic medal jinx.
"Many, many congratulations to you and the entire team, you have made history. The entire country is filled with joy. Your hard work has paid off. The entire country is happy," Modi was heard saying in a video posted by Indian Sports Minister Anurag Thakur on Twitter.
Soon after the match, the PM tweeted, "Historic! A day that will be etched in the memory of every Indian. Congratulations to our Men’s Hockey Team for bringing home the Bronze. With this feat, they have captured the imagination of the entire nation, especially our youth."
Indian President Ramnath Kovind also took to Twitter to laud the Indian men's hockey team for its dominating performance and “exceptional skills, resilience & determination".
“Congratulations to our men’s hockey team for winning an Olympic Medal in hockey after 41 years. The team showed exceptional skills, resilience & determination to win. This historic victory will start a new era in hockey...," he wrote.
In fact, in the match, Germany had taken an early lead with Timur Oruz scoring a goal in the the first quarter. India's Simranjeet Singh soon equalled the scores of the two team.
Germany, however, bounced back with two more goals in the second quarter to lead 3-1. However, the third quarter proved lucky for India. And subsequently, Simranjeet scored his second goal of the match to give India an edge over Germany.
“A billion cheers for India! Boys, you’ve done it ! We can’t keep calm ! #TeamIndia! Our Men’s Hockey Team dominated and defined their destiny in the Olympic history books today, yet again! We are extremely proud of you!" the Sports Minister tweeted.