HYDERABAD: Indian girls’ handball team made history on Valentine’s Day by clinching the prestigious Asian President’s Cup title for the first time. The tournament, organised by the Asian Handball Federation, was held in Jordan from February 7 to 14.
The Indian team led by captain Shailaja Sharma won all their six matches played in the double round-robin league format. In the first game, India defeated Kuwait 41-15 and then triumphed 40-12 in the second match.
India then defeated Iraq 31-27 in the first match and 28-20 in the second match. Against the hosts Jordan, India won the first match 37-21. The second game was a thriller but Indian managed to carve out a 28-21 win to emerge victorious.
India won the six matches and clinched the trophy by virtue of logging 12 points overall. Jordan settled for the runner-up trophy with 8 points.
Nidhi Sharma won the Most Valuable Player award and Diksha Thakur claimed the Best Goalkeeper award.
Arshanapally Jagan Mohan Rao said when he was first elected as the president of the Handball Federation of India in November 2020, he decided to take the Indian team to the Olympics.
He said that many innovations were introduced in handball at the national level in the last two years and that they were taking special care in team preparation for various tournaments.
Rao explained that the best players in the country are selected and given exclusive training in Himachal Pradesh. “As a result, we won the Asian Women’s Junior Championship title for the first time last year and now we have won the Asian President’s Cup,” he said and added that they were preparing a road map to reach the Olympics.
On Thursday, the team was felicitated by Jagan Mohan Rao at the RK Khanna Stadium in New Delhi. Rao congratulated Nidhi Sharma who won the Most Valuable Player award and Diksha Thakur, who won the Best Goalkeeper award.
Executive director Anandeshwar Pandey, chief coach Sachin Chaudhuri, team manager Paramender Singh and others participated in the program.

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