India women's team targeting direct qualification for Paris 2024, says Rani Rampal

The Indian women's team captain reflects on their future after a historic fourth-place finish at Tokyo 2020

By Olympic Channel Writer
Picture by WSP - correo.jaramillo@gmail.com

India women's team created history by claiming a fourth-placed finish at Tokyo 2020. However, their following campaign at the Asian Champions Trophy, was derailed as the team was forced to pull out of the continental event due to Covid-19 complications.

Moving forward, India captain Rani Rampal, has made the intentions of her team clear. The Women in Blue are looking to leave no stone unturned to book a direct ticket to Paris 2024.

"We have set the benchmark for ourselves, and from hereon, we will have to do even better. We want to build on the historic campaign. 2022 will be a very crucial year as we have important tournaments lined up, Rampal told ANI.

"We will look to qualify directly for the Paris Olympics 2024 by clinching gold at Asian Games 2022. But, for that, we will have to go step-by-step, and our first step will be to do well at the Women's Asia Cup 2022," she added.

The Rampal-led side missed out on a podium spot at Tokyo 2020 after losing to Great Britain by a slender 3-4 margin.

Their historic performance saw dragflicker Gurjit Kaur (Women's Player of The Year award), Savita Punia (Women's Goalkeeper of the Year award), Sharmila Devi (Women's Rising Star of the Year award) and former India chief coach Sjoerd Marijne (Coach of the Year) sweep the FIH awards while Rampal was honoured with the Padma Shri and teammates Vandana Katariya and midfielder Monika were conferred with the Arjuna award.

"We were really disappointed when we missed out on winning the bronze medal. It was heartbreaking, but when we returned to India, we slowly realised the magnitude of that fourth-place finish. It is really a big thing for Indian Women's hockey," Rampal said.

"I think all these awards and accolades are an outcome of all the hard work and sacrifices made by the team over the years. It has also boosted our confidence. It will certainly motivate us to do well, and make the country proud again," she added.

The Indian team had also achieved their highest-ever ranking (World No.8) after their performance at Tokyo 2020, and will finish the year at the ninth spot.

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