Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Asian Games: China bag women's hockey hat-trick on penalties

GUANGZHOU, China: China achieved a hat-trick of gold medals in the Asian Games women's field hockey after ousting South Korea in a penalty shoot-out on Wednesday.

The hosts, cheered on by some 1,000 home fans in the final, clinched the tie-breaker 5-4 after both teams were locked goalless at the end of extra-time.

Kim Eun-sil missed the first penalty stroke for the Koreans, while the Chinese converted all their five shots and sealed the win when Sun Sinan beat goalkeeper Moon Young-hui.

China, who won the title in Busan in 2002 and repeated the feat in Doha four years later, booked a direct entry to the 2012 London Olympics with their victory.

The Koreans, winners of four gold medals and two silvers since women's hockey was introduced at the 1982 Asiad in New Delhi, had failed to bag a medal at Doha.

They failed to avenge the 2-1 defeat in the final at home in Busan in 2002.

Earlier, Japan took the bronze medal with a 1-0 over India, Keiko Manabe scoring a golden goal in the 77th minute when she pushed in a loose ball following a penalty corner in extra-time.

Japan, who took silver at the Doha Asiad four years ago, had beaten India 3-0 in the seven-nation round-robin league where they finished third.

India, bronze medallists at Doha, will return home empty-handed.

"It is disappointing not to win a medal again, but I must say the girls played their hearts out," said Indian coach Sandeep Somesh, a former men's international.

"I think the girls need to improve their fitness and ensure they do not miss chances that come their way. We had a lot of scoring opportunities today."

Japan's goal-scorer Manabe said the bronze medal was a fair result for her team.

"We lost to both China and South Korea, but won the other games, so coming third was good," she said.


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