India qualify for Women's Champions Challenge hockey




India inched one step closer towards the 2012 Women's Champions Trophy

hockey tournament after thumping Belgium 6-3 in the final of the inaugural Champions Challenge here.

With this triumph, the Indian eves have qualified for the 2011 Champions

Challenge I tournament, whose winner will progress to the Champions Trophy next year.

Rani Rampal (17th, 38th, 44th and 54th minutes) continued her rampaging form and pumped in four goals, while veteran Saba Anjum (20th) and

Chanchan Devi (49th) scored one each to help India clinch the inaugural title.

For Belgium, skipper Valerie Vermeersch (40th and 52nd minutes) and Jill Boon (55th) were the goal scorers.

Besides being the match-winner, Rani also finished as the event's top scorer and was named the Young Player of the tournament.



India skipper Surinder Kaur was adjudged Player of the Tournament.

Both sides had their chances in the first 15 minutes but it was India who

stamped their authority in the match, scoring first against their less-fancied opponents whom they had defeated 5-3 in the pool stages.

It took India 17 minutes to break the deadlock, courtesy a field goal from

Rani and then three minutes later Saba scored another as India went into the breather with a 2-0 lead.

After the resumption of play, India added another four goals early in the second half, three of them coming from Rani's stick.

The Indians kept attacking after the change of ends with Rani scoring her second goal three minutes into the second half from a penalty corner.

Riding on captain Valerie Vermeersch's two short corner conversions and Boon's field goal, Belgium tried hard for a comeback.

However, it was not to be Belgium's day as Rani struck twice to make the scoreline 6-3 with only 15 minutes remaining.

Meanwhile, Ireland won the bronze medal, defeating Ukraine 2-1 in the third-

place play-off match, while Belarus claimed the fifth position beating Canada in identical scoreline.

Malaysia finished seventh and hosts Russia were eighth.