New Delhi: The year 2018 has been eventful for the Indian Women’s Hockey Team as they not only booked their ticket to 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where for the first time in the history of the game the Indian Women Team will make back-to-back appearances in the most prestigious sporting event, but the lead up to the Qualifier also saw them amass creditable victories against quality sides like Spain, Ireland, Japan, China, Korea, England among other countries.
Their feat has brought several accolades, awards and recognition in this past one year which the team Skipper Rani sees as a new era for women’s hockey in the country.
“The fact that people never expected any great result from the Indian Women’s Team always bothered us. No one expected us to win, just a participation would bring satisfaction. But now I see that attitude change towards the Indian Women’s Hockey Team. We have proved with our performances in 2018 and 2019 that we can achieve greatness too,” stated Rani on the sidelines of the FICCI India Sports Awards 2019.
While winnings awards and being recognised spurs her to do better, Rani also sees this as a positive step towards drawing more attention to Indian Women’s Hockey. “Personally this award is a big boost for me to do better and contribute to my team’s performance. I also think this kind of recognition highlights Indian Women’s Hockey among a different genre of people who are not necessarily hockey followers. I believe this will only help the sport grow. I would love to see the Indian Team inspire more women take up the sport professionally,” she added.
The Indian Team is currently in Bengaluru for the ongoing National Coaching Camp till 15 December 2019. After a three-week break for Christmas and New Year, the core group will return to camp on 5 January 2020 to prepare for the New Zealand Tour. “One of the primary focus for us will be on fitness and recovery. While the plan is to play top quality matches against good teams in the lead up to the Olympics, all of us need to manage our body and mind well. We will need to peak at the right time and going by the weather in Tokyo around the time of the Olympics, I believe fitness will play a huge part in how teams fair,” she added.