India’s women’s hockey captain Rani Rampal feels that if there is no pressure you start taking things easy and thus pressure is necessary as it makes you realize the responsibilities. She has also felt that the level of girl’s hockey is going up in India and 2018 is a big year for them.
Rani Rampal was only 14 years old when she made her debut for India. She played a vital role helping India win the silver medal in the Asia Cup that was played in 2009 and in the following year (in 2010), she played 3 major tournaments - Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games, and the World Cup. Earlier this month, Rani Rampal was named the captain of Indian women’s hockey team for the upcoming Commonwealth Games and she has also played 200 international games for India. Ahead of the quadrennial event, Rani revealed about how pressure is an important aspect of one's game as it helps you concentrate and realize your responsibilities.
“Yeah. But that pressure, I think, is necessary. If there’s no pressure, you won’t perform. Then you tend to take it easy. But when there’s pressure, you realise the responsibilities you carry and you make sure you are always one step ahead,” the Indian women’s hockey captain said in an interview with The Field.
Rani recently played her 200th international game and on being asked about it, she stated that it was indeed a great achievement for her.
“It was an amazing feeling, you know. You can’t explain that in words. It makes you confident because you realise you have done something for your country. It motivates you to do more. Everyone wished me well. Some asked me to go for 300 games. The staff gave me a bouquet. Yeah, it was fantastic,” Rani said.
Rani Rampal started her India career at the age of 14. When you start a sporting career so early, it is important to make a lot of sacrifices and one needs to manage everything well for a long period of time and it was no different with Rani as well.
“(The) journey was quite hard. It wasn’t very easy. I was 14 when I started in the Indian team. There were good and bad moments. So, it was all about how you managed the tough periods… and there were injuries as well, you had to handle that. But it’s a proud feeling everytime you represent India, the whole of India’s population. They have their hopes pinned to you. So, you play with that in mind. So, the aim always is to do something for your country,” she added.
“After becoming captain, I have to handle a lot of things. Sometimes, you have to lovingly talk to your players ‘Okay girls, let’s do this’. Sometimes, you have to be angry to bring some energy into the team. And, as a captain, you have to always work together. Sometimes, a player will not perform well on a day, so, as a captain you have to think of ways to boost her confidence. You have to set a good example to your team. When you are not the captain, you can play with your own flow. But when you are captain, you have to notice certain things in a match,” Rani said about captaincy.
The women’s hockey team is in good form lately and they recently won the Asia Cup and did very well on their tour to Korea. They also qualified for the Olympics after 36 years and thus it became a proven fact that the women’s hockey is gradually improving and it is a great opportunity for them to continue to show their improvement.
“I think the women’s hockey level is up now in our country. And 2018 is the biggest year for us to bring hockey to the forefront. If you look at the last two years, women’s hockey has done good. We won the Asia Cup, did well in the recent Korean tour, qualified for the Olympics after 36 years. There are lots of things that are improving the graph of women’s hockey. But it’s just the beginning. And, it’s a step-by-step process. You have to perform well in each tournament so that there’s a high standard that gets set for women’s hockey. The girls in our country have to have a craze for hockey. Like, after PV Sindhu’s silver medal, there’s a peak in interest for badminton. So, we have to set a similar standard. So, it’s a great opportunity for us now to take women’s hockey to higher places,” Rani explained.