Indian Women’s Hockey Captain, Rani Rampal Shares The Importance Of Tokyo OlympicsOctober 14, 2019 12:29
(Image source from: sports.ndtv.com)
Qualifying for the Rio Olympics was a groundbreaking moment for the Indian Women’s Hockey team in London in August 2015. Since then, four years have passed and the Indian team again has an opportunity to secure their spot in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics in 2020.
The only shortcoming and challenge that they are facing is the upcoming qualifiers against USA that they have next month. The captain, Rani Rampal understands the kind of pressure that the team is under and do need better ways to reach the qualifiers in Tokyo in the upcoming Olympics.
In an interview exclusively with Hindustan Times that was conducted at the Fenesta Open Juniors 2019 event in New Delhi, Rampal stated saying, “Olympic qualification is extremely important for us. We qualified for Olympics in 2016 after a wait of 36 years. We will make sure that we qualify for the multi-sport event every time around. Every player has a dream of playing at the Games, and win medals. Our team has the same aim.”
According to the FIH World Rankings, the Indian Women’s Hocket team is placed at the 9th position while the team that they are competing against, USA, is placed in 13th. The last time that these two team played against each other was during the 2018 Women’s World Cup which ended in the 1-1 stalemate.
Rampal also believes that their recent Britain tour in which they won one game, lost one and drew three games is preparing the team for the upcoming heat and the encounters that they are all set to experience in the coming month of November.
Addressing the situation currently, Rampal further stated saying, “I think England and USA are quite similar in their approach. They both have the same style of hockey. Both the teams are quite physical in their approach. The tour to Britain has helped us to prepare for the challenge. Playing against a stronger team has given us an idea as to how to approach the USA clash. We drew 1-1 against them last year. And we hope to improve this time around.”
In the five matches that they played in the World Cup, Rampal said that the England team is as strong as they were during the 2015 and 2016. The only thing that they felt was the fact that there has been a lot of difference on their side of the team. She believes that the team wasn’t as physically fit during 2016 as they are right now. She believes that they were physically a lot fitter in comparison to the Britain team. It was during the 3rd and the 4th quarters that they dominated the players when they started getting tired. This was one of the reasons why they performed so well in comparison to how they did during 2016.
But, it is not a time to gloat and ensure that they also work further to improve what they already have. They need to work on polishing their existing skills which is definitely something that they can’t take for granted. She believes that they need to improve their finishing if they want to get through the upcoming Olympic qualifiers.
Rampal also released a statement saying, “We created quite a few scoring chances. But we were not able to finish it. That is one area where we need to improve. But it’s good that we created quite a few chances, and it puts more pressure on the opponents. In the camp which begins from Monday in Bhubaneswar, we will be working towards our finishing and to utilise the chances we get.”
Whether or not the team will live up to all the expectations around is still a matter of question at this point. The Indian Women’s Hockey team has time and time proved their stance and made India proud and we are hoping that the same is carried forward even more.
By Somapika Dutta