Notwithstanding the controversy-ridden run up to the event, Indian eves stunned higher-ranked China 2-1 to win the bronze medal in the inaugural Asian Women Champions Trophy [ Images ] hockey tournament at Busan, South Korea on Saturday.
The Surinder Kaur-led side showed great fighting spirit and came from a goal deficit to beat world number three China in the bronze medal play-off match.
Saba Anjum (24th minute) and Surinder (63rd) scored for India [ Images ] while China's lone goal-getter was Wang Mengyu (16th).
The Indians produced their best display of the tournament as they formed good attacking combinations between Rani Rampal, Saba, Surinder, Jasjeet Kaur Handa and Soundarya [ Images ] Yendala.
The Indian defence also stood tall as the backline, consisting of Subhadra Pradhan, Binita Toppo and Joydeep Kaur foiled numerous Chinese threats.
Irrespective of the result, it was China who started on a positive note and soon broke the deadlock in the 16th minute through Mengyu, who found the back of the Indian net from a penalty corner.
However, the lead lasted for just eight minutes as Saba drew parity in the 24th to see both the teams locked at 1-1 in the breather.
The second period was a dull affair as in spite of quite a few chances, both the teams failed to score till the 67th minute.
Indian skipper Surinder led by example and scored the all-important match-winner for her side just three minutes from the hooter from a set piece.
Earlier, India, ranked 13th in the world, had lost all its three round-robin matches to Japan [ Images ], China and hosts South Korea.
India's run up to the tournament was hit hard by a sex scandal involving coach MK Kaushik, who resigned from his post following sexual harrasment allegations brought against him by a fringe player Ranjita Devi.
In Kaushik's place, who was associated with the women's team for nearly 20 years, assistant coach Vasu Thapliyal was given the charge of the team for the four-nation tournament.