She is proud of the effort but Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal is hurting as well after coming within touching distance of a historic Olympic podium finish only to finish fourth ultimately.

The Indians, beating all expectations, entered the semi-finals of the Games for the first time, and signed off with a fourth-place finish after going down to Great Britain 3-4 in the bronze medal play-off in Tokyo on Friday.

“We are feeling so disappointed because we were so close. And we were 2-0 down and then we equalised and we were 3-2 up. I don’t know what to say, but yeah it hurts a lot because we couldn’t win the bronze medal,” she said after the heartbreaking loss.

“But I think everyone just gave their best, so I am proud of the team. Playing in the Olympic Games and finishing top four is not easy. We came a long way. I think now we were closer, but sometimes close is not good enough.

“But I’m still proud of the team, how throughout the tournament we worked so hard and played as a team together,” Rani added.

The Indians played their hearts out and overcame a two-goal deficit to lead 3-2 at half time.

But Great Britain gave their everything in the second half and scored two goals to snatch the match from India’s hands.

“Even though when we were 2-0 down we still stayed together and fought for the two goals,” Rani said.

Rani hoped their performance in the Tokyo Games will inspire a generation back home.

“I would like to thank each and everyone back home because they supported us a lot and they believed in us that we can achieve something here. And still, I know even though we didn’t win the bronze medal, they will back us up because we have inspired the country,” she said.

“And this is what we need from them, we need support from them.”

Dragflicker Gurjit Kaur, whose two goals were not enough to hand India a win on Friday, said luck was probably not on their side and it will be a tough loss to digest.

“It was a very tough loss but we put in a lot of effort. It was a tough loss, but every single player gave their 100%.

“We have created history. We can’t blame anyone. It was a team effort. We were simply not lucky today,” she said.