Rani Rampal, the captain of the Indian women’s hockey team, is the epitome of inspiration and resilience. From being poverty-stricken to reaching the Olympics podium and almost clinching the gold medal, she has shown time and again that she will not back down, despite the many challenges that come her way.
She recently suffered an injury, due to which she has been unable to participate in the FIH Pro League. But as always, the fighter and her indomitable spirit shine on. In her recent Instagram post, Rampal can be seen on the road to recovery. You can see her performing exercises in the gym, and boy, are we motivated ourselves!
She has also shared some reasons behind her consistent success. Are you ready to find out?
Rampal knew she wanted a way to help her family get out of their poverty-stricken state. She worked hard and made her debut as a 14-year-old back in 2008, making her the youngest player to play for the national team. In a past media interview, she had opened up about how she wanted to escape from her life – whether it was about electricity shortage, mosquitoes buzzing in the ears, struggling for two meals a day, or to her home getting flooded when it rained.
Today, Rampal is the captain of the Indian women’s hockey team, and their recent performance at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 earned them acclaim from all over the world. Although they won a bronze medal, their hard work won them laurels under Rampal’s able leadership. Rampal was also honoured with the Padma Shri.
Not many know that Rampal’s journey was ridden with obstacles. She once played with a broken hockey stick, and was also scolded for taking up sports. But this inspirational player was unfazed and continued her journey ahead. Rampal also had to hear comments from relatives, who didn’t want her to wear skirts. But undeterred, she asked her parents to give her a chance and enrolled herself into the Shahabad Hockey Academy.
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Rampal battled gender bias at home and slowly but steadily convinced her family to give in. In the course of her journey, she had to hear statements like, “Ladkiyaan ghar ka kaam hi karti hain” and “Hum tumhe skirt pehen kar khelne nahi denge”.
Her parents had no money to buy her a training kit, but it was her coach who helped her. Rampal had to reach the training at 5 a.m., but they didn’t have an alarm clock. Her mother stayed up till dawn, just so that Rampal could get there on time.
Her school awarded an alarm clock to any student who stood first in a writing competition. Rampal practiced hard and won the first prize, and that’s how she got her alarm clock.
Check out her Instagram post on success right here!
At the Academy, it was non-negotiable for each player to bring 500 ml of milk. But since her family wasn’t financially stable, they could only afford 200 ml of milk. Without telling anyone, she would mix the milk with water and drink it, only because she wanted to play.
Rampal made her World Cup debut in 2010, and scored five of India’s seven goals in the competition. She was also a part of the Indian team, which represented India in the 2016 Rio Olympics. This was when India scripted history, the very first time when Indian women qualified for the Olympics in 36 years.
Her dreams came true, and Rampal won the Khel Ratna, the highest sporting honour in India.