The Opening Match of Indian Women’s Hockey Team Tour of Korea was special for the Team Captain Rani who achieved the milestone of completing 200 international caps.
Born to an economically weak family in Shahabad Markanda, a small town in Kurukshetra district of Haryana, Rani’s rise in hockey has been meteoric. She first took to the field in 2003, trained at the Shahabad Hockey Academy.
She made her International debut in 2008 at the Olympic Qualifiers held in Kazan, Russia. After representing India at 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 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. She was also part of the Indian squad that played at the Rio Olympics, India’s first appearance in 36 years. “I can’t believe I have completed 200 matches for India, it seems like yesterday that I started playing. It is a great feeling and I consider myself fortunate to have been part of the rise in Indian hockey with women getting equal benefits and training facilities like the men. Hockey India has done everything it can to promote women’s hockey and I am happy to be part of this young and energetic Indian Team who have been a constant support for me. I thank my teammates and coaching staff, it is an emotional day for me,” she expressed ahead of the match against Korea .
She further added that winning the Asia Cup and playing the Olympic Games has been the highlight of her career. “Yes, the Asia Cup win and participating at the Rio Olympic has been most special for me but my eternal dream still remains unconquered. I want to win the Gold at a major event like the Asian Games and hear the national anthem play during Medal Ceremony,” she said.
Congratulating Rani on completing the milestone, Mohd. Mushtaque Ahmad, Secretary General, Hockey India said, “Rani has been an inspiration for several young hockey players in the country. It is not just her talent on the field that motivates players but she has overcome stern challenges in life to achieve the heights she has in international hockey. Her attitude to never give up and her confidence makes her a true leader. I wish her the best and hope she continues to contribute to women’s hockey with bigger and greater results.”