The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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India champions in Hamburg

New Delhi: The Indian hockey team’s build-up to the Athens Olympic Games received a shot in the arm on Sunday after it won the four-nation tournament in Hamburg.

India finished on top after Germany drew Argentina 4-4 in the tournament’s last game. Earlier in the day, India had finished second after beating Spain 4-2 in their last match, according to information received here.

India, who won two of their three matches, finished the tournament on six points, while world champions Germany who won one and drew two, ended up with five.

India’s only loss was at the hands of the hosts on Saturday.

Against Spain, India were in control for most of the match and at one point even enjoyed a 3-0 advantage, according to information received here.

Kanwalpreet Singh set India on track in the third minute. Goals by Gagan Ajit Singh, through an 18th-minute penalty corner, and Deepak Thakur (24th) fuelled the Indian surge before Spain scored their first goal just before half-time.

Eduardo Aguilar’s field goal re-energised the Spaniards ahead of the breather.

They narrowed the margin to 3-2 in the 56th minute when Juan Escarre scored through Spain’s fifth penalty corner.

However, just three minutes later, India pulled ahead again when Dilip Tirkey scored a field goal.

India’s triumph comes close on the heels of a successful tour of Australia earlier this month for a two-leg event. There, India won one and finished runners-up in the other leg.

An ecstatic coach Rajinder Singh said the victory showed that the team was on the right path and hoped that the momentum would continue till the Athens Olympics.

“It has really been a fabulous performance by our boys in this tournament. We played extremely well in all the three matches, even in the 2-3 loss against the world champions,” Rajinder said.

“The performance in this tournament has shown that our boys are on the right track. We have been experimenting with our strategies and they have paid off.

“The boys have been doing well consistently and I am sure they will carry on the good work not only in the Champions Trophy next month and but till the Athens Olympics,” he said.

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