New women hockey players very talented: Rani Rampal 1

New Delhi, April 22: Rani Rampal, Indian women’s hockey captain, believes the women hockey scenario has changed in the recent past and the interest being shown by the new generation will further help in development of the game in the country.

Talking to IANS, she said, “The scenario has transformed in the past couple of years. The 2016 World Cup was a defining moment, which brought women’s hockey the much-needed limelight.”

Praising new players, Rani said they were extremely talented and refreshing, and many things could be learnt from them. “With women’s hockey progressing and entering its next phase of growth, new avenues have been created for individuals interested in pursuing the sport at a professional level,” she said.

On the recently concluded Malaysia tour, Rani said the series helped her side gain a lot of experience, which could bear fruit in the future.

“I was delighted to see the number of matches my team won in this tour. Our coach led the team to victory by motivating players at every step. Playing at an international level has helped the team learn several things. This tour was definitely a great experience and helped us lift our game,” the 24-year-old said.

Speaking on her journey so far and leading the national team, Rani said, “I always loved playing hockey, but never imagined that I would get the opportunity to represent India and make such a fulfilling career out of it. I started playing professionally at the age of 14. Since then, every moment when I was able to make my country proud has been very special to me.”

The skipper also praised companies like Welspun India, a Mumbai-based textile company, for supporting players like her and helping in nurturing talent that will help India in improving its rank, not just in hockey but in other sports as well.

“Welspun’s unwavering support has enabled me to walk this path with great success. It helped me with all the required equipment, sponsored my domestic travel and took care of my nutrition. This much-required support helped me concentrate on my game, leading to numerous victories across tournaments,” she said.