5-1 win over USA is a giant leap, says India drag flicker Gurpreet

Updated: Nov 02, 2019, 10:48 IST | Kashinath Bhattacharjee | Bhubaneswar

Gurjit Kaur, 23, who hails from Amritsar, Punjab, however, refused to take things for granted despite the big end.

The Indian women's hockey team celebrate a goal against USA in the first leg of their Olympic Qualifier in Bhubaneswar, Odisha yesterday. PIC/PTI
The Indian women's hockey team celebrate a goal against USA in the first leg of their Olympic Qualifier in Bhubaneswar, Odisha yesterday. PIC/PTI

Bhubaneswar: Gurjit Kaur's brace ensured an inspired Indian women's team beat USA 5-1 at the Kalinga Stadium in the first of the double legged Tokyo Olympics Qualifier yesterday.

Gurjit, 23, who hails from Amritsar, Punjab, however, refused to take things for granted despite the big end. "Yes, this is a giant leap and we all are happy with the way we won this match but there is a return match tomorrow and only after that will we be assured of a place at the Tokyo Olympics," she said.

Drag flicker Gurjit first scored off a penalty corner (42nd minute) and then added a second, and her team's fifth, three minutes later off a penalty stroke. Lilima Minz (28th min), Sharmila Devi (40th) and Navneet Kaur (46th) were the other scorers for India, while USA pulled one back through Erin Matson (54th).

"I have been practising [drag flicks] a lot. I have watched a lot of videos and picked up a few tricks of the trade. It's difficult to be perfect always but hard work and perseverance pays," said Gurjit with a smile.

She refused to speak about India's medal prospects at the Tokyo Games, claiming she is solely focussed on the second Qualifier for now.

"First, we have to qualify. That's the priority and for that, whether I score or not is immaterial. The team has to play well and continue from where we left today. And with such a wonderful crowd behind us here at Bhubaneswar, it's always helpful. But we have a big job to finish tomorrow," she signed off.

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