KUALA LUMPUR – Malaysia battled hard but failed in their bid to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil after they were defeated by India 3-2 in the quarter-finals of the Hockey World League at KHC Dragons Stadium, in Antwerp, Belgium yesterday.
Malaysia’s last appearance at the Olympics was in Sydney in 2000.
On Sunday, Malaysia went down 1-3 to Britain to finish third in Group B. It was Malaysia’s second straight defeat after losing 0-2 to hosts Belgium on Friday.
Malaysia had kicked off their campaign by beating China 3-2 and then followed it up by beating Ireland 4-2.
The top three teams from this tournament will be assured of a place in next year’s Olympics while the fourth-placed team could still sneak in.
In a thrilling do-or-die mission against India, Malaysia were shocked by a terrific opening goal from Satbir Singh who was unguarded in the third minute but they were back on their feet when captain Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim levelled the score with a penalty corner follow-up a second before the first quarter ended.
Malaysia rallied hard and created numerous chances with two penalty corners in the second quarter but had to wait until the 23rd minute to get themselves back into the game.
Shahril Saabah who made his first appearance during the tournament finished off a second phase penalty corner to put The Speedy Tigers ahead seven minutes before the half time.
Goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin who replaced S. Kumar, who had to return home following the death of his son before the tournament began, produced a tremendous save in the third quarter to deny Akashdeep Singh to keep his team going into the final quarter.
Two penalty corners by Jasjit Kular Singh in 49th and 56th minutes finally dashed Malaysian hopes to break a 16-year record of not having qualified for the Olympics.