Rani said Hockey India and the Sports Authority of India’s continuous support and exposure against bigger sides would yield the desired result
Encouraged by the Indian women’s hockey team’s historic fourth place finish in the Tokyo Olympics, captain Rani Rampal on Saturday hoped that one day the girls would bag a medal in the Games.
Rani said Hockey India and the Sports Authority of India’s continuous support and exposure against bigger sides would yield the desired result.
“I am sure the women’s team will be on the podium some day. I am not sure whether I will be there,” said Rani during a virtual press conference.
Rani acknowledged the wholehearted appreciation of the hockey lovers. “We finished 12th in Rio. The semifinal appearance this time is a big achievement. Everybody appreciated our performance. We will take time to realise this (what we have done).
“A bright future lies ahead of the youngsters. They have tasted how it feels to be in an Olympics semifinal…Many of the youngsters have not seen the 2002 (Commonwealth Games win) achievement. It inspired us. Now this (fourth place finish) will inspire the younger lot.”
Rani thanked the support staff for believing in the girls and wished outgoing chief coach Sjoerd Marijne the best. “We respect his decision because his family is also important to him. He deserves credit for whatever he has done for women’s hockey.”
The captain looked forward to important assignments, such as the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and Asia Cup (which is a World Cup qualifier), next year.
Condemning casteist attacks on team-mate Vandana Katariya’s family, Rani, an inspirational leader, said the team always rose above religions and castes to play for the National flag. “It’s shameful, but there are so many good people around. I have not experienced such honour and respect before. If we want to be a sporting nation then it can be achieved by everyone’s contribution.”
Drag-flicker Gurjit Kaur said she did her homework well and succeeded in converting penalty corners even after missing 14 of them. “I never think about the past, I just focus on the work in hand,” said Gurjit.
Youngster Nisha said the backing of the senior players helped. “Rani and other seniors advised us to perform without taking pressure and supported us. We improved a lot after suffering three losses” said Nisha.
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