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New Delhi: 

An emotional tweet by PR Sreejesh, the goalkeeper for the men’s hockey team – that yesterday claimed a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics, the first in over four decades – is making waves online, with nearly 70,000 likes and 12,000 re-tweets since being posted 12 hours ago.

The tweet is a tribute to his father Ravindran, who he calls “my hero” and to whom he dedicates his victory. It contains a 25-second video of his father and family celebrating his historic achievement.

At one point, PR Sreejesh’s father stands up and folds his hands together in a brief prayer as family members, including his wife Annesha, applaud and even break out in a celebratory jig.

“This medal is for you my achaaan (father)… My hero, he is why I’m here,” Mr Sreejesh wrote.

The men’s hockey team beat Germany 5-4 in a nail-biting contest yesterday to claim the bronze medal – a first for Indian hockey since gold in the 1980 Moscow Games.

Simranjeet Singh scored a brace for India, with Hardik Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh also on the scoresheet. Germany’s Timur Oraz opened the scoring, with Niklas Wellen, Benedikt Furk and Lukas Windfeder also finding the back of the net in an exciting clash.

But it was PR Sreejesh who ensured victory for India – with a vital save from a German penalty corner.

It’s a rebirth. That’s it. It’s been 41 years. In 1980 we won the last medal and after that, nothing. Today when we won it, this gives a boost and gives energy to the youngsters to pick up hockey, play this game,” the Tokyo Olympics‘ official website quoted Mr Sreejesh after the win.

“This is a beautiful game. Now we are giving a reason for them (boys and girls across India) to pick up hockey… and make the country more proud,” PR Sreejesh – now a three-time Olympian – added.

The men’s team navigated its way past Australia, Argentina, Spain (whom they beat in the 1980 Games to clinch India’s last gold), New Zealand and Japan in the group stages.

A 3-2 win over Great Britain in the quarterfinal was followed by a 2-5 defeat to Belgium in the semis, which set up the bronze medal clash against the Germans.

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