Olympics-Hockey-Britain win bronze after close victory over India

Tokyo 2020 Olympics - Hockey - Women - Bronze medal match - Britain v India - Oi Hockey Stadium, Tokyo, Japan - August 6, 2021. Players and team staff of Britain celebrate winning their match for bronze. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

TOKYO (Reuters) -Britain earned the bronze medal in the women's hockey tournament after a hard-fought 4-3 win over India in hot conditions at the Tokyo Olympics on Friday.

Britain, who had won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, took a two-goal lead in the second quarter through goals by Elena Rayer and Sarah Robertson.

India, who have never won an Olympic medal in women's hockey, pulled level after drag-flick specialist Gurjit Kaur scored twice off penalty corners.

Britain then conceded another goal that gave India a 3-2 lead going into the break, but kept fighting to turn the tables in the final leg of their Tokyo campaign.

Hollie Pearne-Webb equalised in the 35th minute, before Grace Balsdon scored Britain's winning goal from a penalty corner in the last quarter.

"We're a very resilient group and that's what we showed there at the end," Pearne-Webb told reporters.

"Really pleased that we could come here and get it across the line."

Britain was the bigger attacking threat, racking up 23 penetrations of the opposition circle against nine for India, which could not come out on top despite having 54% of ball possession. Both sides were awarded eight penalty corners.

"We were close but sometimes close is not good enough," India captain Rani said. "It hurts a lot because we could win the bronze medal but I think everyone just gave their best."

The loss meant the women's team couldn't match the feat of the Indian men's team https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/hockey-india-win-bronze-after-5-4-win-over-germany-2021-08-05, which won the country's first Olympic hockey medal in 41 years, prevailing in a nine-goal thriller against Germany in the bronze medal match.

In their bid to deal with the heat on Friday, officials doubled the usual two-minute breaks between quarters to allow players to cool down and rolled out extra one-minute water breaks during the final two quarters of the match.

Britain took a knee against racism and discrimination shortly before the match got underway.

(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa and Lincoln Feast.)

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