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Indian women’s hockey team skipper Rani Rampal eager for more success

Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal is keen on helping her team book a place in the 2020 Olympics

other sports Updated: Dec 16, 2017 15:29 IST
Sharad Deep
Sharad Deep
Rani Rampal,Indian women’s hockey team,Tokyo Olympics
Rani Rampal is the captain of the Indian women’s hockey team.(Hockey India)

The Indian women’s hockey team has achieved a phenomenal rise in recent times. Following the Asia Cup title win after a gap of 13 years, the team also climbed to the top 10 of the world rankings.

For captain Rani Rampal, this success story is just a beginning in the game and she wants to repeat this success at the 18th Asian Games at Jakarta (Indonesia) in November next year, which will help the team to make it to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“We made use of the Asia Cup to make it to the World Cup (July 21-Aug 5, London) by winning this and so is the case with the Asian Games, where only winning could give us a place in the Olympic 2020 (sic),” Rani told Hindustan Times in an exclusive chat on Friday. “So for now, getting ready for such a big mission is the only target for all of us, and we all are not only dreaming for this, but are also working hard to realise this.”

“We have beaten top Asian teams, including China in the Asia Cup, but (are) still not over-confident of finishing top in the Asian Games. (The) team has the confidence to get better and better, and what we need to learn is the art of beating the top teams like Netherlands, England, Argentina, New Zealand, etc, if we made it to the Olympics.”

She, however, admitted that it’s all about the self belief, confidence. “Currently our focus in the camp here in Bangalore is on strength, physical fitness, speed and stamina as all these are very much required to challenge and beat the top teams in the world,” said Rani, who was adjudged ‘Player of the Tournament’ at the 2013 Junior World Cup, which India finished with a bronze medal.

“Certainly, 2018 is a year of sports and we would be competing in the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the World Cup, and all three events mean big business to me and the team. We need to carry the self-belief, which we had before the Asia Cup,” said Rani, who finds team’s new coach Harendra Singh a ‘great motivator’ to the side.

“We were confident of success even from the day one when Harendra Sir took over the reins. His success with (the) junior men’s World Cup was with him, and we all find him a good motivator as well as a perfect coach, who knows how to make best use of your abilities on the ground,” said Rani, refusing to accept that a woman coach for the side would have been a better option.

Rani Rampal (2R) is confident of the Indian women’s hockey team’s prospects. ( Hockey India )

“Making it to the World Cup by finishing top in the Asia Cup was very much on our mind, and this approach had made all the difference for the side, which didn’t do well at the World Hockey League Semi-Final. There were moments of thrill and excitement when we went for the shoot-out in the final, but everyone played her part very nicely,” said the ace forward.

She also accepted that women players also draw inspirations from the men’s side. “We all were watching the World League Finals at Bhubaneswar, where Indian men’s had a bronze, and we always cheer, support the men team as well as draw inspirations from their success (sic).”

Before the Commonwealth Games (April 4-15, Gold Cost), the Indian team will go to South Korea to play some test matches against the home side as part of its preparations in February. India’s next mission after the tour will be the 5th Asian Champions Trophy (May 13-20, Donghae City, Korea).

First Published: Dec 16, 2017 15:29 IST