‘Women’s hockey undergoing positive change’

Rani Rampal with Anju Bobby George.  

The Indian women’s hockey team returned from New Zealand with mixed results — two wins and losses each — but the spotlight was on captain Rani Rampal, named Athlete of the Year at the World Games and awarded the Padma Shri during this period. In an exclusive chat with The Hindu, she spoke about the importance of the tour and how awards are more a recognition of the sport itself than any individual achievement. Excerpts:

How important was this tour for the team?

Very important. The team has got a lot of confidence from this tour. We missed a few chances and our defensive structure was a concern early on. We worked on it and the result was visible in the later games. We will now look at all the games and I feel we still need to improve a lot.

We need to try and implement our plans in matches. We also tried some new things and the good thing is that the entire team has been very quick to adjust, adopt and adapt to new plans and structure.

Any specific areas you need to work on?

We need to work on our counter control. We should use our improved fitness for quick counter-attacks but also need to concentrate on counter-control so that when the opposition attempts counters, we are prepared.

How does getting something like the World Games award or the Padma Shri affect a player?

You feel happy that your efforts and struggles have been recognised. There is added responsibility but then, I have always been responsible ever since I made the team. With something like the World Games, it recognises the worth of women’s hockey.

Do you believe it will raise the profile of women’s hockey in India?

Yes. A lot of people supported me through this, including our Sports Minister, which shows they love the sport and people are now supporting women’s hockey also. I don’t think people vote randomly for anyone, they do so only when they can relate to a sport and the sportsperson. I am proud that women’s hockey is undergoing a positive change in the country and I am part of it.

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Printable version | Oct 23, 2021 12:24:01 AM |

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