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Commonwealth Games

Lawn Bowls hero, exam topper Rupa Rani Tirkey no stranger to guiding team of 4 women

When 'skip' Rupa Rani Tirkey took a 6-month leave to train for the Commonwealth Games 2022, her salary stopped coming. After the historic Lawn Bowls gold, her all-woman family now wonder if that amount will be cleared.

Lawn Bowls hero, exam topper Rupa Rani Tirkey no stranger to guiding team of 4 women

Rupa Rani Tirkey (right) and Nayanmoni Saikia with India's Lawn Bowls gold medal at CWG 2022


Dipankar Lahiri

Updated: 25 Aug 2022 9:27 AM GMT

When Rupa Rani Tirkey pierced the narrowest of gaps between two red balls to take India 12-10 ahead of South Africa after End 13 of the Lawn Bowls Gold medal match on Tuesday, most of her family members missed the throw because they were too nervous to be present in the TV room in their two-room house in Jharkhand's Ramgarh.

A day after 34-year-old Rupa Rani Tirkey guided the Indian Women's Fours team to a historic gold medal in Birmingham, Raina Rani Tirkey told The Bridge her elder sister is no stranger to being the guiding force of a four-woman team.

"It's been a tough life for us since our father (a postal worker) passed away in 2007. Being an all-woman family is a real challenge. If there is no man in the house, there will be problems and these problems have to be faced head on. A lot of people promise a lot of help, but in the end we have always been a team of four women who have had to look out for each other, going through a lot of ups and downs," she said.

Like Rupa Rani was seen guiding the Indian team of Lovely Choubey, Pinki and Nayanmoni Saikia through their two shots each before her turn came at every stage, she has always been the guiding force of her household in Ramgarh, a small town in Jharkhand located between Dhanbad and Ranchi.

"She does all household work, she's a real all-rounder. But one thing is that she cannot switch on the TV by herself, electronic devices are a terror for her. She is a great student, has always been a topper. She topped her college, then also the Jharkhand state service exam, but every time she has a problem with her phone, she comes to us for help," said Rupa Rani's sister.

When former kabaddi player Rupa Rani landed a government job as the District sports officer in Chaibasa a few years ago, it seemed the 'skip' of the family had pulled off a life-changing manoeuvre, even if her office was almost 200kms from home.

Earlier this year, she took a six-month leave from work to train for the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi. Two things happened during this time. In a piece of news that brought great joy to her family, she was transferred to hometown Ramgarh from Chaibasa.

The other distressing development was that her salary stopped coming as soon as her leave started. The family is still unsure if that amount will be cleared now.

Rupa Rani's elder sister chipped in: "She has always been one step ahead of me even though I am the eldest sister. A lot of hard work has gone into this gold medal she will be bringing home, it has not come just like that."

(With inputs from Nand Kishore Agarwal from Ramgarh)

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