Why Rani Rampal sees a bright future for Indian sportswomen

Indian women’s hockey team captain Rani Rampal felt that timely recognition and awards for good performances boosted girls to take up sport.

By Rahul Venkat

Hesitant to choose a career in hockey? Indian women’s team captain Rani Rampal believes that things have dramatically shifted for women pursuing their dreams in the sport.

“I think 10 or 15 years ago, people would ask how hockey could help make a living. But things have changed drastically now,” stated Rani.

“Aspiring players get an opportunity to show their talent and consistently perform at the national championships which could assure a player of a job as well as a chance to make it to the national team.”

The concerted efforts to develop sports is what has propelled the Indian hockey women’s team to do well at the international level, explained Rani.

In recent years, the Indian hockey women’s team has won a silver medal at the 2018 Asian Games and the 2018 Asian Champions Trophy. The team, which qualified for its first Olympics in 36 years at Rio 2016, followed it up by making it to a second-consecutive Summer Games in Tokyo next year.

Rani Rampal feels Indian hockey will benefit from the efforts to develop the sport in the years to come. Image: Hockey India.

Awards a major boost

Another influential factor in the rise of the Indian hockey women’s team has been the timely recognition in the form of awards and the subsequent monetary benefits, felt Rani.

“For a young player like Lalremsiami (awarded the ‘Upcoming Player of 2019’), winning a cash purse of Rs 15 lakhs makes a huge difference because it takes away the financial burden her family is facing especially after her father passed away last year,” she said.

“The monetary support ensures that we can focus purely on hockey.”

Lalremsiami was also named as the international hockey federation’s (FIH) Rising Star of the Year in February.

And Rani, who won the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award this year, knows that a good performance at the Olympics will only enhance their status as strong, independent women.

PV Sindhu and Saina Nehwal are not only sporting icons but also self-sufficient, independent women who achieved it through sport,” noted the Indian hockey women’s team skipper.

“We are working towards having similar success as a team. We have that fire and hunger to excel and we know doing well at the Olympics will change our lives for the better,” she concluded.