Punjab defeated Haryana by 3-1 to win the women’s hockey gold at 35th National Games in Kerala, while Services outclassed Odisha by 8-2 to grab the men’s hockey gold medal at New Hockey Stadium, Kollam. Jharkhand eves finished third by defeating Odisha 2-0, while Haryana men edged past Jharkhand in nerve wrecking shoot-out by 7-6 to win men’s hockey bronze medal.
The Women’s Hockey final of the 35th National Games saw Punjab Women team dominating their game with Haryana, defeating them 3-1 to make their way to the gold. Punjab was awarded a penalty corner 30 minutes into the match as Manmeet Kaur took the strike. Manmeet scored the first goal for her team as the ball found gap between the sturdy guards of Haryana goalkeeper and reached for the nets. Next, Hardeep Kaur doubled the score for Punjab in the closing minutes of first half as the scores stood at 2-0. Punjab was again granted a penalty corner in the 38th minute as the team once again banked on their very efficient Manmeet Kaur to take the strike. Showcasing her experience and fine conversion abilities, Manmeet converted the penalty corner into the third goal of the game, living up to the expectations of her teammates and giving her side a lead of 3-0. Devika Sen of Haryana managed to score the lone goal for the team as she successfully converted a penalty corner in the 55th minute. With no additional goals scored later, the final scoreboard showed a score of 3-1, declaring a golden win for Punjab eves as Haryana settles for a silver.
In the Men’s Hockey final match, Services Sports Control Board routed Odisha men 8-2 to win the gold. Although Deepanshu Bhargav of Odisha scored a remarkable early goal in the 2nd minute, Siraj struck back in the sixth minute to convert a penalty corner and level the score. Next, Mukesh Kakra and Ved Prakash scored a goal each, in the 13th and 17th minute to take the score to 3-1, with SSCB in the lead. Men from SSCB continuously breached the defence of Odisha as Davinder Singh and Jaspreet Singh scored a couple of goals, one after the other, in the 26th and 29th minute respectively. By the end of the first half, the score stood at 5-1 with SSCB leading the scoreboard. The second half began more intensely as Odisha looked at making a comeback in the game. Dominating the field of play, SSCB continued to create scoring opportunities as Binay Bhengra pierced in a field goal in the 44th minute closely followed by a goal from Navneet Swarnakar of Odisha, who sliced in the second goal for his team. Undeterred by this comeback, Chandan Aind and Ved Prakash scored again in the 54th and 66th minute to give SSCB an insuperable score of 8-2 and gold at the National Games.
In the playoffs early morning, women from Jharkhand voided Odisha 2-0 to win the bronze and bring laurels to their home state. The match began on a high with the two teams challenging each others’ defence and trying to sneak-in a goal to attain a lead in the game. With a near perfect defence line-up from both the ends, no goals were scored for long until Jharkhand was awarded a penalty corner in the concluding minutes of the first half. Realising the worth of this chance, Basanti took the strike and efficiently converted it into the initial goal, giving her side a lead of 1-0 before the end of first half. In the subsequent half, Jharkhand put in their best efforts to maintain the lead and score further as Odisha women were seen trying to score and level the game. In the 57th minute, it was Kanti from Jharkhand who pierced through the sturdy defence of Odisha and put the ball in the mesh to double the lead for her team. Although Odisha struggled to score through the entire game, they could not open their scoring account as Jharkhand blanked them 2-0 to win the bronze.
Men’s playoff had Haryana and Jharkhand giving a tough time to each other as the two looked out for chances to score, restricting the opposite team from entering their D and finish with a bronze for their state in the National Games. While the in-form player from Haryana-Yudhvir Singh continued to perform his best and scored the first goal for his team, a penalty corner conversion, in the 33rd minute, the score was soon equalized by a goal from Anup Topno of Jharkhand in the dying moments of first half. With an equal score of 1-1, the second half began with ascended fervour as Amit Kumar of Haryana converted a penalty corner and doubled the score for his team in the 49th minute. Cutting short their celebration, Bhushun Kujur of Jharkhand scored a goal to draw the parity in the 54th minute, tying the score at 2-2 as the full time ended in a draw taking the game further into the shoot out phase. Neol Dodroi, Anup Topno, Arvind Kujur and Nitesh Kiro scored a goal each for Jharkhand in the shoot out as Amit Kumar, Shivdeep, Munish Rana and Joga Singh scored for Haryana. Finally, it was a goal from the stick of the very talented Naveen Antil that handed over the bronze to Haryana as Jharkhand settled for the fourth place.