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Women's Olympic hockey: Australia most successful

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Australia Womens Hockey
Bangalore, Jul 25: Here we take a brief look at the women's hockey tournaments played in the previous Olympics, starting from the 1980 Moscow Games. Australia are the most successful team with three golds while the Netherlands are the most consistent team with six last-four finish in eight editions.

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1980 Moscow Olympics: Women's hockey was introduced in the Olympics for the first time in this Olympic. Six teams took part in the tournament, namely Zimbabwe, India, USSR, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland. Zimbabwe won the gold after finishing one point better than Czechoslovakia in the final points table. Hosts USSR finished third. Indian eves finished fourth, Results for India at the Moscow Games: beat Austria 2-0, Poland 4-0, lost to Czechoslovakia 1-2, drew Zimbabwe 1-1 and lost to the USSR 1-3.

1984 Los Angeles Olympics: After their boycotting the 1980 Moscow Games owing to political reasons, major western teams returned to the 1984 Los Angeles Games. Defending world champions of the time, the Netherlands took part along with West Germany, Canada, Australia, New Zealand besides the hosts, USA. The Netherlands won gold that year without dropping a single point while West Germany won silver. The bronze-winner was decided after the US and Australia played a penalty shoot-out (for they had the exact goal difference) soon after the latter lost to the Netherlands. The US beat Australia 10-5 in the penalty shoot-out to win bronze. Australia thus lost two encounters within a span of 15 minutes!

1988 Seoul Olympics: Eight teams took part in this Olympic, namely the Netherlands, Australia, Great Britain, West Germany, Canada, Argentina, the USA and the hosts, South Korea. The Australians beat the top favourites, the Netherlands 2-0 in their last match, after drawing with Canada and South Korea. The hosts, South Korea, were a surprise package as they reached the final despite starting on a poor note. In the final, the Hockeyroos beat the Koreans 2-0 while the Netherlands won bronze after defeating Great Britain 3-1.

1992 Barcelona Olympics: Eight teams took part in that year and they were: Australia, Germany, Canada, Great Britain, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain and Korea. The four semifinalists were Germany and Spain (from Pool A) and Korea and Great Britain (from Pool B).

The Netherlands lost out to Great Britain on goal difference while Australia also missed out on the semi-finals. The Spanish women's hockey was a special project for the Barcelona Organization Committee (COOB), which sponsored the squad. In the semi-finals, Germany beat Great Britain while Spain beat South Korea, both scorelines reading 2-1. In the final, Spain's Eli Maragall, niece of Pasqual Maragall, the then mayor of Barcelona and also president of COOB, scored the winning goal on the home turf against the Germans. Great Britain beat Korea 4-3 to win the bronze.

1996 Atlanta Olympics: Eight teams were in the fray that year including Spain, Germany, Australia, Korea, Great Britain, the Netherlands, the USA and Argentina. The Hockeyroos did not win a single of their league matches (all the teams played against each other) and just drew against the Koreans, who finished second in the table. The final was a repetition of the 1988 Games in which the Hockeyroos beat the Koreans 3-1. The Australian team that year also featured Nova Peris-Kneebone, the first aboriginal Olympic medallist, who later shifted to track and field. The Netherlands beat Great Britain 4-3 in the penalty shoot-outs to win bronze.

2000 Sydney Olympics: The number of participants was increased to ten this time. Group A featured Australia, Argentina, Spain, Great Britain and South Korea while Group B featured New Zealand, China, the Netherlands, Germany and South Africa.

Three teams from each group advanced into the medal round. South Korea, Germany and Great Britain were surprise omissions this time while teams like China and New Zealand entered the medal pool. They, however, failed to advance thereafter and the final four teams were Australia, Argentina, Netherlands and Spain. The Hockeyroos won the gold for the third time when they defeated the Las Leonas (Argentina), a rising power in women's hockey in the final, while the Dutch won the bronze after beating Spain 2-0. Australia's Rechelle Hawkes became the first Australian woman to win three golds in three separate Olympics after swimmer Dawn Fraser.

2004 Athens Olympics: Ten teams took part in Athens: Australia, Germany, the Netherlands, China, Argentina, Japan, New Zealand, Spain, Korea and South Africa, clubbed into two groups. The heavyweights, the Netherlands, Germany, Australia and Korea were placed in the same group. Germany beat the Netherlands 2-1 in the final to bag the gold while Argentina beat China 1-0 to win bronze. Germany was third-time lucky to win the gold in women's hockey. China surprised the world by topping their group with all wins, including against strong teams like Argentina and Spain.

2008 Beijing Games: Twelve teams featured in this Olympic, the most ever in the history of women's hockey in the Olympics. Pool A featured the Netherlands, China, Korea, Australia, South Africa and Spain while Pool B had Germany, Argentina, Great Britain, the USA, Japan and New Zealand. China beat a powerful Germany 3-2 in the semi-final to make their first-ever Olympic hockey final. The Netherlands, on the other hand, beat the Las Leonas 5-2 and went on to win their second gold since 1984 when they defeated the hosts 2-0. Argentina beat Germany 3-1 to win bronze.

Indian eves: They finished fourth in the qualifying round of the 2008 Games in Kazan, Russia, when they lost to the Netherlands Antilles 1-2. Rani Devi was adjudged the Most Promising Young Player of the Tournament. But they missed the London Games by a whisker after losing to South Africa 1-3 in the final match of the qualifying round. India had only lost to South Africa twice in that tournament held in New Delhi.

OneIndia News

Story first published: Wednesday, July 25, 2012, 19:05 [IST]
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