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Indian men's hockey team receives warm welcome after successful CWG 2022 campaign
New Delhi: The Indian men's hockey team received a warm welcome from the fans at the Delhi Airport on Wednesday after a great Commonwealth Games 2022 campaign in Birmingham.
A dominant performance by Australia ended India's Gold medal dream in hockey at the Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games in the final. India had to settle for a silver medal. Australia won the match 7-0. Goals were scored by Blake Govers (9'), Nathan Ephraums (14', 42'), Jacob Anderson (22', 27'), Tom Wickham (26') and Flynn Ogilvie (46'). India came into the Final on the back of some fine performances in the group stage as they beat Ghana 11-0, drew against England 4-4, beat Canada 8-0 and Wales 4-1 followed by a 3-2 win against South Africa in the semifinal.
But the outing in Birmingham was still pretty good this time around, considering the fact that the men's hockey team failed to win a medal in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia. Back then, Team India had qualified for the semi-finals and lost to New Zealand. Then, they went on to lose the bronze medal match to England to get a fourth-place finish.
Players were given a great welcome at the airport. They were welcomed and tricolor sashes were given to them which they wore around their necks.
Men's hockey team skipper Manpreet Singh expressed happiness at the performance of his team, especially that they could win a medal after going back empty-handed in 2018.
"I am happy that we could win a silver medal. We could not win a medal in 2018 but we won it this time around. We were going for a gold medal this time but could not perform well in the final. We are happy to bring at least a silver medal," he said to ANI.
Manpreet said that it was not difficult leading the team since it had plenty of experienced players like PR Sreejesh, Harmanpreet Singh, and others who helped him out. "The squad is really good and has a mix of experience and youth. And I enjoy playing with them," he added.
The skipper dedicated this medal to his nine-month-old daughter.
The skipper said that the team's focus is now on Pro League and World Cup coming next year, which will be hosted in India.
"We have learned a lot from this CWG. We will try to learn from this, practice, and do our best in later tournaments," he added.
Team India forward Mandeep Singh also expressed happiness that the team could win a medal.
"It is good for hockey. I am happy that people have come to receive us. I would dedicate this medal to my family and country," he added.
Mandeep said that a camp of 10-15 days will follow next and the team will be preparing for the Pro League and Hockey World Cup.
Defender Harmanpreet Singh also said to ANI, "I am glad that we could win this medal and we got a good result of our hard work."
From July 28 to August 8, nearly 200 Indian athletes competed for medals across 16 different sports at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham.
India wrapped up its Commonwealth Games 2022 campaign at fourth position with 61 medals (22 gold, 16 silver and 23 bronze). Wrestling topped the medal chart with 12 medals including six gold while weightlifting accounted for 10 medals.
India has delivered its fifth-best performance of all time in their Commonwealth Games history, with their best being a total of 101 medals when the games were held at home in 2010.
The Commonwealth Games 2022 came to an end with a stunning closing ceremony at the Alexander Stadium in Birmingham on Monday.
The Commonwealth Games flag was presented to the Governor of Victoria. The state of Victoria, Australia will be the next host of the Commonwealth Games in 2026. (ANI)