India at Women's Hockey Asia Cup: Two-time champions and multiple podiums

Apart from the first edition, India have competed in every Women’s Hockey Asia Cup tournament. They have won two titles and made the finals four times.

By Rahul Venkat
Picture by Getty Images

Reigning champions India will aim to become only the second team to defend its title at the Women’s Hockey Asia Cup 2022, which gets underway in Muscat, Oman on January 21.

India won the last edition in 2017, beating China in the final. This was the second time they were crowned champions after 2004.

The Indian women’s hockey team have made eight appearances at the tournament, competing in every edition apart from the inaugural one in 1985.

They have made the final four times, the joint-most along with South Korea, and have finished outside the top-three only twice - in 1989 and 2007.

Let’s glance at their performance in each edition.

India at Women’s Hockey Asia Cup

1989 - Fourth

India made their Women’s Hockey Asia Cup debut in 1989 and were one of five teams alongside China, Japan, Hong Kong and reigning champions South Korea.

The tournament followed a round-robin format, with teams playing each other once and the team with the most points at the end of four matches each was crowned the winner.

India began their campaign with a 2-0 win over Hong Kong. However, they lost their other three matches (2-0 vs China, 3-0 vs South Korea and 6-2 vs Japan). India finished with two points in four matches.

China won all four of their matches and clinched the tournament.

1993 - Third

Group stages and knockouts were introduced from 1993 onwards. Seven teams competed in this edition, with three teams in Group A and four in Group B, with the top two in each group advancing to the semis.

India were in Group A with South Korea and Singapore. They beat Singapore 6-0 and drew 1-1 with South Korea to go through to the last-four.

India lost 3-0 to China in the semi-finals. The Indian team then went on to beat Japan 1-0 in the third-place playoff and won the bronze medal to earn its first podium finish.

South Korea beat China in the final to win their second title.

1999 - Runners-up

This was a six-team tournament and there were no groups. The six teams played each other once in a round-robin format, with the top two advancing to the final and third and fourth-placed teams playing for the bronze medal.

With the event being held in New Delhi, hosts India began with massive 8-0 and 9-0 victories over Malaysia and Kazakhstan, respectively.

They then drew 2-2 with Japan and 0-0 with China before ending with a 3-2 win over South Korea.

India finished top of the table with 11 points in five matches and had scored the joint-most number of goals (22) along with South Korea, who finished second. The two teams played in the final.

South Korea took an early lead in the final. India equalised just after half-time and took a 2-1 lead four minutes from full-time. However, South Korea made it 2-2 with just two minutes to go, forcing a golden goal scenario - where the first team to score the next goal would be adjudged winners.

South Korea went on to score their third goal four minutes into the golden goal period and won their second-consecutive title. India ended with the silver medal.

2004 - Champions

Eight teams competed in two groups, with the top two in each group going through to the semi-finals. The Women’s Hockey Asia Cup was being held in New Delhi for the second-consecutive time.

India were in Pool A. India began with a 4-2 win over Malaysia, drew 1-1 with China and finished with an 8-0 victory over Kazakhstan to advance as the group leaders.

The Indian women’s hockey team blanked South Korea 5-0 in the semis and then beat Japan 1-0 in the final with a late goal to claim its first title in front of their home fans.

2007 - Fourth

This was a nine-team tournament with five in one group and four in the other. India were in Pool A with China, Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.

India beat Malaysia 6-0 in their first pool match before thrashing Thailand and Singapore 16-0 each. India finished with a 4-2 loss against China and went through as second in Pool A.

The reigning champions lost 5-2 to South Korea in the semis this time. With the bronze medal on the line, India lost 4-2 to China for a second time in the tournament to finish fourth. This was their first non-podium finish after three editions.

Japan went on to beat South Korea in a penalty shoot-out to win their first trophy.

2009 - Runners-up

India were drawn in Pool A with China, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand in 2009. This was an 11-team event with six teams in Pool B.

The Indian hockey team defeated Singapore 13-0 in the first match and then demolished Thailand 15-0.

India played out identical 1-1 draws each with China and Malaysia to go through to the semis as the second team in Pool A.

Facing South Korea in the semis for a third-consecutive edition, India beat them 3-2 to enter the final.

However, China beat India 5-3 in the final to win their second title.

2013 - Third

This was an eight-team tournament with four teams in each group. India were in Pool A once again with China, Malaysia and Hong Kong.

India started with a 13-0 win over Hong Kong, lost 1-0 to China before ending with a 2-0 win over Malaysia to advance to the last-four.

The Indian team was up against South Korea yet again in the semis and lost 2-1 this time.

India’s bronze medal clash was against China and the match ended 2-2 in normal time. India went on to win 3-2 in the penalty shoot-out to claim the bronze medal.

Japan beat South Korea in the final to win their second title.

2017 - Champions

The 2017 Women’s Hockey Asia Cup was an eight-team tournament with India in Pool A with China, Malaysia and Singapore.

However, all eight teams would advance to the knockouts to play the quarter-finals with the Pool A toppers playing the bottom in Pool B and so on.

India blanked Singapore 10-0 before beating China 4-1 and Malaysia 2-0 to finish top of the group.

India then beat Kazakhstan 7-1 in the quarter-finals and overcame Japan 4-2 in the semis.

In the final against China, India took the lead but China equalised soon after and the match ended 1-1 in normal time.

India then won the penalty shoot-out 5-4 to lift their second title.

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