LUCKNOW: India have been crowned as the Hockey Junior World Cup 2016 champions following a 2-1 triumph over Belgium in the competition final here on Sunday.
It was standing room only at the Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium for the gold medal match, with 17,000 cheering fans creating an electric atmosphere for what was a sparkling showcase of junior international hockey.
India were superb in the first half, harnessing the energy of the home crowd to move into a 2-0 lead. Man of the Match Gurjant Singh scored a sensational backhand strike from a tight angle in the eighth minute before Simranjeet Singh added a second 14 minutes later. Gregory Stockbroekx went agonizingly close to halving India’s lead with a penalty corner towards the end of the period, but his deflection travelled fractionally wide of the target.
Indian goalkeeper Vikas Diyas showed stunning reactions with a glove save inside the final five minutes to deny a vicious volley from Stockbroekx, a moment that proved crucial. Belgium scored an overtime penalty corner through Fabrice Van Bockrijck, but it was not enough to stop India from claiming their second junior world cup title, adding to the one they claimed at Hobart, Australia in 2001.
India’s triumph in the title match brought the curtain down on what has been a wonderful festival of hockey in Lucknow. With the new champions having a 100 percent win record throughout the event, few could dispute that the home favourites were worthy winners.
In the bronze medal match, Timm Herzbruch inspired Germany to a 3-0 victory over Australia, with the 19-year-old attacker scoring twice for his side.
7/8 Place: England 2, Netherlands 6; 5/6 Place: Argentina 2, Spain 1; 3/4 Place: Germany 3, Australia 0; 1/2 Place: Belgium 1, India 2.
Final Classification (positions 9-16): 1: India, 2: Belgium, 3: Germany, 4: Australia, 5: Argentina, 6: Spain, 7: The Netherlands, 8: England, 9 ; New Zealand, 10: South Africa, 11: Malaysia, 12: Austria, 13: Japan, 14: Korea, 15: Egypt, 16: Canada.
Best Player of the Tournament: Enrique Gonzalez de Castejon (ESP)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Loic van Doren (BEL)
Up & Coming U19 Player of the Tournament: Timm Herzbruch (GER)
Fair Play Award: New Zealand
Fans Choice Award: Harmanpreet Singh (IND)
HERO Top Scorer of the Tournament: Edward Horler (ENG) – 8 goals.
Text & Picture: FIH