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Verve People
June 09, 2017

Feisty Achievers: Rani Rampal

Text by Tina Dastur. Image Courtesy: Getty Images

For her exemplary performance at the 2010 Women’s Hockey World Cup that was instrumental in propelling the Indian side to the ninth spot on the rankings chart

Agile on the field, Rani Rampal made headlines when she scored a whopping seven goals at the 2010 hockey world cup, pushing the national team to the ninth spot in the world women’s rankings — their best since 1978. But what made that even more impressive? The fact that she was the team’s youngest member! No one-hit wonder, Rampal scored four goals at the Women’s Hockey Champions Challenge I tournament in 2009, which were instrumental in the team grabbing the gold medal. Despite her underprivileged background, the sportswoman defeated the odds to achieve her dreams.

The initial challenges
I come from a small city and poor household and none of the girls in my family have ever played a sport. In Haryana, girls aren’t even allowed to leave the house alone. That said, there are a number of great female players that Shahabad Markanda has produced and so I always dreamt that I would make a name for myself someday and do my country proud. When I started playing hockey, I learnt that those who played professionally got good jobs, and that got me interested. I thought that if I could represent India in hockey tournaments, I would also land a good job and make enough money to support my family.

Support systems
My coach Baldev Singh, a Dronacharya awardee, who has trained and taught me all I know about the game. And my parents, who have sacrificed much to enable me to live my dream. I am also grateful to my teammates, who have always encouraged and motivated me. Strengths and weaknesses I’m a confident sportsperson for my age, but I have to work on my physical strength and fitness.

On women in sports
India is a male-dominated country, but women are gaining ground slowly but steadily. There’s a need to encourage them and give them more opportunities to prove themselves. They are capable of a lot, but they need that slight boost. With that, they can go far and achieve much.

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