(Photo: © FIH / Stanislas Brochier)

With an authoritative display, Pakistan wrested the hockey gold medal for men in the Asian Games at Guangzhou beating Malaysia by two goals to nil on Thursday, writes Mr S Thyagarajan. Pakistan’s last gold came in 1990 at Beijing.

By recording this victory, Pakistan has now ensured its berth for the London Olympic Games in 2010.

Pakistan played at a furious pace right through giving no chance for the Malaysian defenders to settle down. Pressing in every minute, Pakistan succeeded in forging ahead midway through when a perfect penalty corner by Sohail Abbas beat goal-keeper Kumar all ends up.

Buoyed by this success, the Pakistanis dominated the proceedings and netted the second goal in the early minutes of the second half. Rehan Butt made capital of a cross from Shafiq Rasool.

The Malaysians were tentative for the most part and handling of the penalty corners in the second half—they had three of them—was imperfect.

India scooped the bronze medal in a tight contest against the defending champion, South Korea, by a lone goal scored by Tushar Khandekar in the 40th minute.

The trend of the contest was well controlled by the Indian defenders headed by the energetic Sardar Singh assisted well by Mahadik and the mid-fielder, Arjun Halappa.

The Korean goal-keeper Lee Myungho performed well under the bar stopping the two penalty corners from Sandeep Singh, who emerged as the top scorer in the tournament with 11 goals, and also from Tushar Khadekar.

The last time when India won the bronze was in 1986. And the Koreans return home without a medal for the first time since 1990 in Beijing where they finished fourth.

China struck twice against Japan, once in each half to take the fifth place. A silver medalist at the last edition in Doha, the fifth place was no consolation for the China, which was overwhelmed by Malaysia.

Dominating the exchanges, the Chinese were off the mark from a penalty corner drive Liu Yixian. And five minutes before close the veteran Na Yubo enlarged the margin.

Leandro Negre, President, FIH, presented the trophy for the best young woman player of the year 2010 Zhao Yudiao. The trophy was received by Yang Chao, Secretary, China Hockey Federation, on behalf of the player.

The medals were presented by Sultan Azlan Shah, President, Asian Hockey Federation, Tansri Alagendra, Secretary-General, and M.Ueda, Vice-President, AHF.


The results:

Final: Pakistan 2 (Sohail Abbas, Rehan Butt) beat Malaysia 0 HT 1-0.

(3-4) India 1 (Tushar Khandekar) beat South Korea 0 HT 1-1.

(5-6) China 2 (Liu Yixian, Na Yubo) beat Japan 0 HT 1-0

(7-8) Oman 6 (Samir Al Shibli, Basim Rajab, HashimAl Shatri, Akram Bait Shamiah, Md. Bait Jindal, Hussain Al Hasani) beat Bangladesh 5( Chayan Rahman 2, Pushkor Khisa 2, Krishno Kumir)  HT 2-3.

(9-10) Hong Kong China 2 (Arif Ali 2, including the  golden goal) beat Singapore 1( Enrico Marican) HT 1-0.

Final placings:1.Pakistan, 2. Malaysia.3.India, 4.South Korea, 5.China 6.Japan 7.Oman, 8.Bangladesh, 9.Hong Kong China, 10. Singapore.