New Delhi: Hockey India on Sunday congratulated the Indian Women’s Hockey Team Captain Rani for being nominated for the prestigious Padma Shri award, the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India. She is one among the six recipients from category of sports to be conferred with the award.
Rani, who has over 200 International Caps for India, was born in Shahabad Markanda, a small town in Kurukshetra district of Haryana. Rani’s rise in hockey has been meteoric. She first took to the hockey field in 2003, trained at the Shahabad Hockey Academy under Coach Baldev Singh.
She made her international debut in 2008 at the Olympic Qualifiers held in Kazan, Russia. After representing India at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and 2010 Asian Games, Rani was included in the FIH Women’s All Star Team of 2010. She was also included in the All Star team of the Asian Hockey Federation based on her performance in the 2010 Asian Games at Guangzhou, where the Indian team had finished fourth.
Her on-field exploits were significant in India’s Silver Medal win in the Asia Cup in 2009. At 15, she was the youngest member of the Indian Team that participated at the 2010 Women’s Hockey World Cup in Argentina where she struck a splendid seven goals.
Under her captaincy, India created history as they won the Women’s Asia Cup in 2017 and earned a direct qualification for the FIH Women’s World Cup in 2018. She was also part of the Indian squad that played at the Rio Olympics, India’s first appearance in 36 years. Her contribution to the team was significant in the 18th Asian Games where India won a historic Silver medal. In 2019, under her Captaincy, the Indian team won the FIH Women’s Series Final in Hiroshima, Japan.
She also led the team to a stupendous win in the FIH Olympic Qualifiers 2019 where India beat the USA to earn qualification in back-to-back Olympics — a feat never achieved in the history of women’s hockey in India. “I am truly humbled and overjoyed on receiving this news about being shortlisted for the Padma Shri award. We (Indian Women’s Team) are in Auckland, New Zealand for our tournament and I was surprised to receive so many messages from friends, fans and well-wishers informing me about being shortlisted,” stated Rani further adding that the award is a recognition for women’s hockey. “This honour is a recognition for women’s hockey in India. We have come a long way in the sport and I truly believe we can achieve greater results,” she added.
Congratulating Rani on being nominated for the Padma Shri, Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad, President, Hockey India said, “Hockey India is extremely proud of Rani’s achievements and contribution to Indian Hockey. Coming from a difficult background, she has been a beacon of hope for Indian women who aspire to achieve something on their own but face several odds. She has set an example to many and continues to play a pivotal role in the team’s preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. I congratulate her and her family for this great honour and wish her the best for future endeavours.”