China regained the Asia Cup by defeating India 5-3 in the final in Bangkok, Thailand on Sunday after a gap of two decades. China won last in 1989 in Hong Kong. Both China and India are directly qualified for the BDO FIH World Cup 2010.

By S. Thyagarajan

The 5-3 victory over India in the final was carved out by the Chinese with a proficient display that underscored the efficacy of speed, system and shooting.

True, India surged into the lead within minutes when Surinder Kaur tapped in a forward pass by Mamta Kharb. But thereafter, China wrested the initiative and commanded everything with palpable verve.

Fu Rong netted the equalizer taking a cross from the hard working Song Ling, and the lead came from an impeccable penalty corner by Ma Yibo. Close on half-time Zhang Yu slotted the third goal which almost put the issue beyond doubt.

The start of the final was delayed by 45 minutes owing to a power failure and the half-time was extended to 20 minutes because of heavy rain.

After a 30 minute break the contest resumed with India displaying going into a full scale attack. Three penalty corners surfaced and Mamta Kharb netted from a melee. But China hit back immediately with De Jiao Jiao followed by a penalty corner by Ma Yibo.

India was relentless and struck again, this time Dipika Thakur producing a stunner of a drive from the top of the circle.  

Korea won the bronze medal in a pulsating contest against Japan by four goals to three.

The match winner, a flawless penalty corner by Soo Kyung Lee, in the 67th minute, sealed the result in favour of Korea.

The teams were 3-3 at half-time after a fiercely fought first half-half.

Stunned by the first minute strike by Rika Komazawa, the Koreans fought back gallantly to forge ahead midway through.

Hye Lyong Lee leveled in the 10th minute and Soo Kyung Lee hit in a penalty corner to enlarge the lead, but Mie Nakashima slipped in a penalty corner to restore parity.

It was Korea again that went ahead when Bomi Kim deflected in a penalty corner drive by Eun Sil Kim.

Japan, which came into the competition as the defending champion, surged back into the fight when a brilliant bout of passing between Iwao Sachmi and Misaki Ozawa culminated in the latter scoring.

Korea had six penalty corners –eight in the match including the two in the second, one of which contributed to the match winner-in the first half against the two by Japan, which obtained four. The results:

India’s defender Subadra Pradhan was declared the player of the tournament.

Sultan Azlan Shah, President, Asian Hockey Federation and FIH Executive Board Member, presented the trophy and the gold medals to China.

Results Women’s Asia Cup:

Final:
China – India 5:3 (3:1)

Bronze medal match:
Korea – Japan 4:3 (3:3)

Classification 5-6:
Malaysia – Kazakhstan 2:1 (1:1)

Classification 7-8:
Hong Kong – Singapore 2:0 (1:0)

Classification 9-10:
Taipei – Thailand 2:1 (1:0)

Final ranking:
1. China (qualified for BDO FIH World Cup 2010)
2. India (qualified for BDO FIH World Cup 2010)
3. Korea (qualified for World Cup Qualification Tournament)
4. Japan (qualified for World Cup Qualification Tournament)
5. Malaysia (qualified for World Cup Qualification Tournament)
6. Kazakhstan
7. Hong Kong
8. Singapore
9. Taipei
10. Thailand
11. Sri Lanka