26th February was the day & the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium was the venue where India qualified at the London Olympics after 8 years by defeating the team of France by 8-1. The victory was led by Sandep Singh making 5 goals and Birendra Lakra , SV Sunil and VR Raghunath (one each).
The opening goal was made by Birender Lakra at the 17th minute followed by 5 goals by Sandeep Singh in the 19th,26th, 38th, 49th and 51st minutes while Sunil made it 5-1 in the 43rd and VR Raghunath 8-1 in the 56th.Sandeep Singh finished as the top goal-scorer at the tournament with a whopping 16 goals.The game easily saw the best attendance of the tournament as crowds filled the 16,500-seater stadium to near capacity. The match also kept the umpires on their toes as both the teams repeatedly asked for reviews of penalty corners. Both the teams earned seven penalty corners, but while India converted six of those, France couldn’t score on any.
Followed by the victory of making it to London Olympics there was a windfall for all the member of Indian Hockey as CM Bhupinder Singh Hooda (Haryana) announced bonanza of cash rewards for its players, especially those hailing from Haryana. The bonanza of cash rewards included Rs five lakh per goal scored by each player of Haryana in the qualifying match. Similarly, for other matches held in this series, Rs one lakh per goal would be given to players irrespective of the State to which they belonged. In addition, Rs 11 lakh per player would be given to each player hailing from Haryana. Hooda also announced to give Rs 2.51 lakh to each player of Indian team, irrespective of the State to which he belonged.And the CM of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan on Monday announced an award of Rs.100,000 to each member of the Indian hockey team that has booked a passage to the 2012 London Olympics.
The victory of Indian hockey team has made our country proud.For the record, Hockey & Sandeep Singh were trending on twitter yesterday.The Indian Hockey Team indeed made us proud by qualifying to the Olympics after 8 years and I hope that this time we get a Gold medal at the Olympics 😀