She has brought the glory to India by being the first captain of Indian women’s hockey team who reached semi-finals for the first time in Olympics. Rani Rampal’s rise to this position is not a cake walk but an inspirational story which is nothing short of women empowerment against all odds and challenges which is sure enough to motivate many young women to reach the peaks of success. India will clash with Argentina today in Tokyo Olympics semi-finals at 3.30 p.m.
Rani from a position of not able to afford to buy a hockey stick to become the youngest player in the national women’s hockey team to participate in the 2010 World Cup, who qualified at only 15 years of age is not an easy task or an overnight miracle. Her grit, hard work and determination made her bask in the limelight today
Born in Shahabad Markanda in Kurukshetra district of Haryana, Rani Rampal’s father was a cart puller who barely used to earn Rs.80 per day and mother was a maid. She recalled her ordeal and the poor condition of her family finances and wanted to escape from her life on many occasions. Right from the electricity shortages to barely having two square meals a day to their home getting flooded, Rani has learnt the lessons of life the hard way.
Her passion for hockey since childhood made her spend hours watching the players, who used to play at a nearby hockey academy in her area. “With the kind of finances we had, my father could not afford to buy a hockey stick. Every day, I’d ask the coach to teach me. He’d reject me saying, ‘You aren’t strong enough to pull through a practice session”, she quoted.
Rani has not lost any hope and started began practising with a broken hockey stick clad in a salwar kameez. However, her determination and zeal pushed her forward. “But my family said, ‘Hum tumhe skirt pehen kar khelne nahi denge.’ I’d plead, ‘Please mujhe jaane do. If I fail, I’ll do whatever you want.’ My family gave in,” she added. Rani recalled the academy rules where it was mandatory for each player to bring 500 ml of milk. But her family could only afford 200 ml of milk. “So I would mix the milk with water and drink it”. Fortunately, Rani’s coach was helpful who supported her through thick and thin. He bought her hockey kits and shoes, besides taking care of her nutrition part.
Rani Rampal in 2017 could finally buy a home for her family which is the biggest thing she has done for her family. “We cried and held each other tightly!” Rani said after getting a house of her own. The confidence and the self-belief she had is something which needs to be emulated and mark her words, “I won’t sit calm until I bring a gold medal from the Tokyo Olympics”.
Let’s wish Rani Rampal and her team great success in their match today in Tokyo Olympics!