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Services, Punjab win hockey golds at National Games

Kollam, Feb 11 : Services and Punjab clinched gold medals in their respective men's and women's finals of the 35th National Games at the New Hockey Stadium here Wednesday.

While the women from Punjab overcame Haryana 3-1 to get the gold, Jharkhand beat Odisha 2-0 to take home the bronze. 

Later in the men's matches, Services registered a huge 8-2 win over Odisha to pocket the gold. In the bronze medal playoff, Haryana overcame Jharkhand 7-6 in the penalty shootout.

The first hockey final of the National Games saw Punjab dominate Haryana. Punjab were awarded a penalty corner 30 minutes into the match as Manmeet Kaur took strike. She scored the first goal as the ball found the gap between the sturdy defenders of Haryana.

Hardeep Kaur again scored for Punjab in the closing minutes of the first half. Punjab was again granted a penalty corner in the 38th minute. Manmeet once again converted the penalty corner to help Punjab take a 3-0 lead.

Devika Sen scored Haryana's lone goal as she successfully converted a penalty corner in the 55th minute.

In the men’s final, Services routed Odisha to take the gold. Although Deepanshu Bhargav of Odisha scored a remarkable early goal in the second minute, Siraj struck back in the sixth minute to convert a penalty corner and level the game.

Next, Mukesh Kakra and Ved Prakash scored a goal each, in the 13th and 17th minutes respectively, to take the score to 3-1 in favour of Services. They continuously breached the defence of Odisha as Davinder Singh and Jaspreet Singh scored a couple of goals, one after the other, in the 26th and 29th minutes, respectively.

By the end of the first half, the score stood at 5-1 with Services leading. The second half began more intensely as Odisha looked at making a comeback. But dominating the field of play, Services continued to create scoring opportunities as Binay Bhengra pierced in a field goal in the 44th minute closely followed by a goal from Navneet Swarnakar of Odisha, who sliced in the second goal for his team.

Undeterred by this comeback, Chandan Aind and Ved Prakash scored again in the 54th and 66th minutes to give Services an impeccable score of 8-2 and gold at the National Games.