New Delhi: "A dream moment", said the country's sports fraternity in unison as it celebrated the resurgence of Indian hockey at the Olympics after the women's team advanced to its first ever semifinal at the Games in Tokyo on Monday.
A day after the Indian men's team entered the Olympic semifinals following a 49-year gap, the world no. 9 women's side also produced a phenomenally gritty performance against the world no. 2 Australia in an intense quarterfinals.
It triggered an outpouring of emotions as people from all walks of life, including former and current sportspersons and politicians, congratulated the team.
Describing it as "a dream moment", former India hockey captain Viren Rasquinha said: "Impressed with the way the Indians defended post the goal. They didn't just defend the lead, they almost attacked the lead. They were not afraid to go up and press the Australians.
"The men's game made us much more uncomfortable yesterday than the Australian women. Credit to the Indian women's team.
"One biggest improvement in the team is the sheer physical presence, the fitness, endurance levels. In today's modern format unless the fitness level isn't at the highest level it is hard to survive."
Drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur rose to the occasion and converted India's lone penalty corner in the 22nd minute to surprise the Australians.
"To score a goal against one of the best teams in hockey is amazing. She hasn't been in best form, it took a bit of luck, as it took two deflection but who cares, what matters it was a goal for India," Rasquinha said.
India will next take on Argentina in the semifinals on Wednesday.
Sports Minister Anurag Thakur congratulated the team on his twitter handle:
Wishes also came in former sports minister Kiren Rijiju.
Odisha chief miniter Naveen Patnaik, who has been at the forefront in supporting the hockey teams through sponsorship as well, said glory awaits.
— Naveen Patnaik (@Naveen_Odisha) August 2, 2021
India's first ever individual silver at the Olympics, shooter Col Rajyavardhan Rathore, who was also the sports minister in the past, added to the praise.
The country's lone individual Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra and Rio bronze medallist wrestler Sakshi Malik sent their best wishes.
Multiple-time world champion cueist Pankaj Advani also took to the social networking site to wish the Rani Rampal-led side.
India football team skipper Sunil Chhetri shared his experience about India's successes on consecutive days in the ongoing Olympics.
— Sunil Chhetri (@chetrisunil11) August 2, 2021
Former batsman VVS Laxman too congratulated the team.
In his tweet, BCCI secretary Jay Shah said:
— Jay Shah (@JayShah) August 2, 2021