NEW DELHI: Vandana Katariya became the first Indian woman hockey player to score an Olympic hat-trick as India beat South Africa by 4-3 at the Oi Hockey Stadium in Tokyo on Saturday.
Vandana scored in the first, second, and fourth quarters of India's last match in Pool A of the Tokyo Olympics to etch her names in the history books.
The forward from Uttar Pradesh netted thrice as India edged out South Africa 4-3 to help her team earn a crucial victory that kept their quarter-final chances alive.
At 29, Katariya is a veteran in the Indian hockey team with 245 appearances, just one less than captain Rani Rampal. With 67 goals to her name, only captain Rampal has scored more goals for the Indian team among the current lot.
Katariya's first appearance on the national scene was in 2006 when she was picked for the junior national team. In four years, she was able to progress through the ranks and earn her first senior cap.
Kataria has been a crucial member of the women's team. She had won the player of the tournament award in the Asian Champion Trophy, 2018 wherein India won the silver medal. She was also the part of 2016 Rio Olympics.