New Delhi: The Tokyo Olympics ended in a blaze of glory for Canada in the women’s football competition. Canada, led ably by its captain Christine Sinclair, took the gold medal when it defeated Sweden 3-2 in the penalty shootout. It was Canada’s first title in the Olympic women’s football championship and the football fans in the country were ecstatic.
For Christine Sinclair it was her third Olympic medal. The first two were bronze medals and this one was gold. She asserted her place as the world’s leading footballer among men and women both With 187 goals from 303 matches, she stands head and shoulders above even the men footballers like Pele, Maradona, Messi and Rolando. The top scorer in the men’s section is Cristiano Ronaldo who is tied with Iran’s Ali Daei with 109 goals each.
Not only that, with 303 matches under her belt, she is also the most “capped” football player of all time including both men and women. She is one of the most famous Olympians Canada has ever had and is a worthy representative of her country. According to another footballer Andrea Neil, the skipper of Canada tries to be a good human being while performing to the best of her ability.
Christine made her debut for her country at the age of 16 and is still playing for Canada at the age of 38. What a marvelous career it has been for her. When asked what was the best moment for her in the Tokyo Olympics, she said, “That victory over the USA in the semifinal felt good. It was great to get some revenge and overcome our big sister,” she said with a smile.
“But, I honestly cannot even believe what has happened. For the last 40 days we had a goal to come here and change the colour of our medal from bronze to gold and we finally did it. We landed on the top of the podium. I cannot express the feeling in words,” she said.
Another player, Carrie Serwetnyk says that Sinclair has been a big part of building a dream for the youth of Canada, especially the girls and women. “She is the architect of sports success in this country. She is such an amazing player,” says Serwetnyk.
What was surprising was that Canada was not at all among the strong contenders for the Gold medal. After the Rio Olympics in 2016, where it had got a bronze, the team went through a slump. Repeated losses and draws saw hopes fading among its diehard fans.
But in Tokyo, the team gradually recovered its old form. Canada qualified for the knockout stage as the runner up in Group “E” behind Great Britain. But in the quarterfinals it caused a big upset by defeating the holders Brazil 4-3 in the penalty shootout. In the semifinals came one more big upset. Canada defeated the strong USA team (which has won the FIFA World Cup four times). And in the final Canada beat Sweden 3-2 in the shootout after full time had ended 1-1.
The final result saw Canada celebrate its gold medal in much the same way as we celebrate in India. The news was repeatedly flashed in the media and social media was abuzz with the excitement. Prime Minister Justine Trudeau tweeted: “Was watching on my phone. Absolutely amazing. Congratulations# Team Canada.
Clearly the excitement will take a long time to die down and it may be quite a while before the Canadian sports lovers can get back to their normal routine.