Eight-time gold winners finish last in hockey

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London, Aug 11: Indian Hockey team on Saturday touched a new low by finishing at the bottom of the competition after being beaten 3-2 by South Africa in the 11-12th place classification match at the Olympic Games at the Riverbank Arena. This was the sixth straight loss at the Riverbank Arena for the Indian team, who made a return to the Olympics after failing to qualify for the 2008 Games in Beijing.

The previous lowest position that the country had occupied was eighth at the 1996 Atlanta Games. For South Africa, Andrew Cronje (8th minute), Timothy Drummond (34th) and Lloyd Norris-Jones (65th) sounded the board, while Sandeep Singh (14th) and Dharamvir Singh (67th) scored for India.

India had finished 11th at the 2006 World Cup in Monchengladbach against the same opponents but this time, their South African rivals turned the table. It was in the capital of Great Britain that the Indian hockey team had clinched the 1948 Olympic gold medal in what was independent India's first major international sporting achievement. Thirty-eight years later, when London was the venue of the 1986 World Cup, the Indian team was pushed to the bottom of the 12-team competition, losing the playoff to Pakistan for the last spot.

India lost 2-3 to the Netherlands, 1-3 to New Zealand, 2-5 to Germany, 1-4 to South Korea, 0-3 to Belgium in their league matches and are the only team to end without a point at London Olympics.

PTI

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