Feisty Achievers: Rani Rampal
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.
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.