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The Indian hockey team ended a 15-year wait when they beat Belgium 2-1 to lift the Hockey Junior World Cup here at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium on Sunday.
Though Fabrice van Bockrijck scored from a penalty corner at the final hooter, it didn’t matter much as goals from Gurjant Singh (eighth minute) and Simranjeet Singh (22nd minute) in the opening half were enough for Harjeet Singh and his boys to stand on the podium.
Their aggression and never-say-die attitude were the key features that head coach Harendra Singh put together three years ago. And all those qualities were on display on a cool Sunday evening as a capacity crowd egged on the Indian colts throughout the 70 minutes.
Though they did miss a handful of opportunities in the opening minutes, the Indian fans didn’t have to wait for the first goal for long as Gurjant put the hosts ahead with a delightful strike. The Amritsar player made the most of a half-hearted clearance from Belgian goalkeeper Loic van Doren to neatly slot in the opener from an acute angle.
And when Simranjeet blasted in the second goal, midway through the opening half, the result was all but certain. The win might have lifted the gloom that overshadowed Indian hockey after their performance at the Rio Olympics to some extent, but is this a foolproof answer to the future of hockey in India? Only time will tell.


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